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24/03/08 - 28/03/08

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Reform Plan Contradicts Clinton Campaign
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 1:45:00 PM

Barack, the Conservative Choice
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 6:44:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Breaking News, 2008 President In a speech before the Florida State Senate, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), a supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary race, announced plans to introduce a Federal presidential election reform plan that contains features at odds with the Clinton campaign's rationale for securing the nomination. Nelson's plan would establish regional primaries that would take place between March and June and would rotate in order, eliminating the influence of early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. It would also allow early voting in all states and absentee voting for any reason, as well as call for the elimination of voting machines that do not produce a paper record of votes cast. But the plan also calls for awarding the presidency by popular vote and does away with the Electoral College. That aspect of the plan undercuts a key justification that Sen. Clinton is making to superdelegates that will likely decide the outcome of the Democratic primary. Clinton has won a lot of large, electoral vote rich states, and is relying on her strength in potential Electoral College scenarios to sway the superdelegates into supporting her bid for the nomination. Sen. Clinton cannot be pleased that one of her most prominent supporters in the Senate is making a proposal to eliminate the very election feature that she is using to her advantage in this election season. Nelson's plan is inspired by the 2000 presidential election debacle in Florida.

George W. Bush won Florida by just over 500 votes, giving him all of Florida's 25 electoral votes and the presidency, despite losing the national popular vote by about 600,000. Democrats, stung by the narrowest of losses, called for the elimination of the Electoral College as a result of the disputed election. Sen. Clinton was among those calling for a president elected by the popular vote. But those calls faded in the aftermath of the 2004 election, when Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry lost the popular vote by a wider

margin, about 3 million votes, but would have won in the Electoral College with a swing of just 50,000 votes in Ohio. To this day, some Democrats harbor resentment that Kerry did not contest the election there. Now, however, as Sen. Clinton faces long-shot odds of overtaking Sen. Barack Obama in the delegate race, her campaign is trumpeting her strength in the electoral vote rich states. Earlier this week, another U.S. Senate backer of Clinton's, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), said that one of the key factors that superdelegates should consider is the potential for carrying an Electoral College majority. "Well, I do think the popular vote is important. But that's a circular argument. It brings us back to Florida and Michigan. So who carried the states with the most Electoral College votes is an important factor to consider because ultimately, that's how we choose the president of the United States." Nelson's announcement, in the same week that surrogates began to make the Electoral College argument, is problematic for the Clinton campaign. It leaves the impression that her campaign is talking out of both sides of its communications shop, and adds more confusion to an already hopelessly muddled nomination battle. Nelson has introduced election reform legislation in the Senate before, failing to garner significant support. Because this plan directly impacts on one of the Clinton campaign's strongest selling points to the superdelegates, it may never see the light of day. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Barack Obama, 2008 President Well I guess if you want to write contrarian articles that grab attention, alleging that Barack is the best choice for conservatives isn't a bad place to start. But it takes a long time in this column to get to the nugget. Much time is spent first on explaining how both Bush and McCain are not conservative. This, of course, is no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention, but the columnist acts as if I should be surprised, so I'll play along. Fact: GWB is not a conservative. Me: No way! oh wait, now that you mention it, high spending + Medicare entitlements, + no child left behind, Egad! you're right, Bush isn't a conservative and I only just now realized it! Thank you sir for pointing out the obvious. But on to the main point here, which is why, after explaining how the Republican candidates are not conservatives, why they should turn to Obama (of all people!) So why consider Obama? For one reason only: because this liberal Democrat has promised to end the U.S. combat role in Iraq. Contained within that promise, if fulfilled, lies some modest prospect of a conservative revival. To appreciate that possibility requires seeing the Iraq War in perspective. As an episode in modern military history, Iraq qualifies at best as a very small war. Yet the ripples from this small war will extend far into the future, with remembrance of the event likely to have greater significance than the event itself. How

Americans choose to incorporate Iraq into the nation's historical narrative will either affirm our post-Cold War trajectory toward empire or create opportunities to set a saner course. And there it is. to Andrew Bacevich, the defining issue for conservatism is whether to limit or expand American efforts to police the world. Everything else (taxes, abortion, limited government, everything!) pales in significance. And because Obama is the only candidate likely to stop a "march toward empire". Conservatives should support him. This is of course a steaming load of youknow-what. The argument of involvement in the world versus minding our own business goes all the way back to the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, (if not before) who campaigned, indeed embodied the idea of minding our own business and rugged individualism. So of course among the first things he does as president is doubles the size of the country then building a navy and sending it to fight pirates across the ocean(Muslim pirates at that). Which means that Americans would like to mind our own business, but it never seems to be a practical option. No change here and now on that either. But all this goes to say that it is absurd to say that conservatives, as such, will necessarily land on one side or the other of the question about policing the world. And so much for the conservatives for Obama argument. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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Is 'Sniper-Gate' Hillary's Dukakis Moment?
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 2:39:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Featured Stories The reporting on Hillary Clinton's inaccurate recollections of her trip to Bosnia as First Lady has been escalating steadily over the past week or so, as each day brings new revelations, or some new fact dug up out of the archives of the Clinton-era internet, ironically now not benefiting from the dot com boom. Just yesterday, Brandon Barker posted the video below, from BarelyPolitical.com. Hillary Clinton's account of the trip included references to sniper fire, a canceled welcome ceremony, and running, heads-down, to their cars. As the week has progressed, her campaign's increasingly ham-handed attempts at damage control only succeeded in amplifying the issue, until finally, they were left with a horrible excuse about being tired, made worse when juxtaposed with the now-infamous 3 a.m. ad. The worst thing about this is not the "misstatements," although that's what made it such a huge story. People will claim that, but I don't buy it. The most damaging part of this is that it makes Hillary seem like another weak, humiliated Democrat. The Dukakis comparison has been kicking around in my head for a few days, but it really came into relief when I saw the video. After the jump, will this story sink Hillary Clinton? Is the Dukakis analogy really appropriate? Why do Democrats think they have to be near guns to get elected? Update: Reaction from the Clinton campaign at the end. I was only 19 or so during, so a lot of the details are a little fuzzy, but I will never forget the slap I gave my forehead when I saw Mike's head popping up out of that tank like a jack-in-the-box. That was the moment the Democrats completely surrendered to the Republicans on national security issues, and on the larger issue of toughness. It was at that moment that the collective Democratic cojones went POOF! and disappeared.What they should have done was to fight the un-American notion that the American President needs

to be some kind of militaristic Marlboro man. They've been reeling ever since. Even Bill Clinton only managed to skirt this by campaigning on a "peace dividend." Now, the Dukakis chickens have come home to roost again. It will be known in short order just how damaging this is to Senator Clinton. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken Monday and Tuesday, as this story was unfolding, indicates that it could be significant: As expected, one of the two major Democratic candidates saw a downturn in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, but it's not the candidate that you think. Hillary Clinton is sporting the lowest personal ratings of the campaign. Moreover, her 37 percent positive rating is the lowest the NBC/WSJ poll has recorded since March 2001, two months after she was elected to the U.S. Senate from New York. Recent polls show that Obama's support has stabilized, and even edged up

slightly, since his speech on race in America. The full effect of the Bosnia story won't be measurable for a week or so, and will be magnified in November if Hillary is the nominee. Of course, there are other analogies to the Dukakis bid. The issue of race was put front-and-center with the Bush campaign's use of black boogieman Willie Horton to scare voters away from Mike. I never thought that this had nearly the impact that the tank thing did. I remember thinking two things: If they could only find one guy from that furlough program who messed up, maybe it wasn't so bad. Secondly, I wondered why no newscasters ever clarified that the man in the ads was not Detroit Tigers slugger Willie Horton. If the Unabomber had been named Cal Ripken, I bet they would have mentioned it. A key difference here is that the Horton and National Security attacks on Dukakis

came from a Republican, not a fellow Democrat. One detail I did not remember, that is directly comparable to this campaign, is that Dukakis' camp sank Joe Biden's candidacy by releasing embarrassing evidence of plagiarism. It remains to be seen if Hillary Clinton's campaign can effectively counter this, or if they will even try. The strategy of ignoring the issue is what blew it up in the first place, so they do so at their own peril. Update: On today's Clinton campaign conference call, I asked Howard Wolfson about this. Here is an abridged version of the exchange: TC: How does your campaign plan to counter the "Dukakis Effect" of the Bosnia/Sniper story going forward, particularly as you press Sens. Obama and McCain on national security issues? Howard Wolfson: I think that's rather overstated. I do not expect it will have that

kind of impact. TC: Senator Clinton has said that she "believes" she has passed the Commanderin-Chief test, and she is "certain that John McCain has." When I asked this question earlier in the week, you essentially said that McCain is wrong about Iraq, but I want to ask you what is there, positively, about Senator McCain that shows he passed the test, and failing that, do you now think he did not pass the test? Howard Wolfson: I think Senator Clinton was clearly speaking in the broader political context, that Senator McCain has the experience, but he is clearly wrong... TC: This is Howard? HW: Yes. TC: So what you are saying is that he passed the test by being wrong? HW: No, well, I appreciate the followup, and I would appreciate being able to finish my answer to you without being interrupted. Senator Clinton was speaking about Senator McCain in a broad political context. He served in uniform, as a POW, he has served in the Senate, he has the experience, Senator Obama does not, but we have been clear that Senator McCain is wrong on Iraq. TC: Wouldn't a fairer and wiser contrast, then, be that Senators Clinton and Obama are right on Iraq, and McCain is wrong? HW: I appreciate you having asked this question several times, but I think you are conflating two things that are not related. We have been clear, and I'm sure Senator Clinton has said it before, at the debates, that Senator Obama's and Senator Clinton's positions on Iraq are in clear contrast with McCain's. So, there you have it. Am I missing something? How do you pass a test by being completely wrong? How does Senator Clinton defeat John McCain when he beats her at least 2 to 1 on her own test? As for the Dukakis Effect, time will tell, and not that much time. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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Superdelegate Indicted
By Faye Anderson (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 7:45:00 AM

Iraqi Death-Rate Rising
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 3:29:00 AM

Filed under: Breaking News, Iraq According to statistics compiled from news reports, the death-rate among Iraqi soldiers and civilians has gone up for four straight months. Most troubling, however, is the marked jump in the number of Iraqis who have been killed in March. As of this writing, 768 Iraqis died in fighting related to the war. The actual tally is sure to be much higher, given that these figures are based only on those fatalities that make it to the pages of newspapers. Of course, the reason March has seen such a spike in casualties can be attributed to the fact that Moqtada al-Sadr's militia seems to have decided to end its cease-fire with the Iraqi Government and American troops. What's odd, however, is the spin that the Pentagon has offered up regarding this worrisome development: The Pentagon on Wednesday said an

eruption of violence in southern Iraq, where US-backed government forces were battling Shiite militias, was a "by-product of the success of the surge." Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, you are asked to believe that the surge is a success because it has curtailed violence AND because it has not curtailed violence. Let's not be fooled by a return to the Orwellian P.R. machine that once assured us that an up-tick in bloodshed signaled that our enemies were in the " last throes" of their dramatic performance. Perhaps we do have the "insurgents" right where we want them now. By supporting an inept government for so long, we've rooted out the dissatisfied, and heavily-armed Shiites. Now fed up with the non-existent pace of political progress, they've taken to the streets and are ripe for the offing. 72-hours from now the Iraqi army should have it all mopped up. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Hillary to Supporters: Don't Vote for McCain
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 3:11:00 PM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Barack Obama, John McCain, Featured Stories Good for her, she's talking sense again. From CNN: Hillary Clinton pleaded for partisan unity on Thursday, urging Democrats not to abandon their party to vote for John McCain if their preferred candidate fails to secure the nomination... ..."First of all, every time you have a vigorous contest like we are having in this primary election, people get intense," she continued. "You know, Sen. Obama has intense support: I have intense support." Clinton stressed that there are "significant" differences between her and Obama, but said "those differences pale to the differences between us and Sen. McCain. This is a new and refreshing

development in strategy. Heretofore, Clinton seemed to suggest that McCain would be a better choice than Obama, if she were to lose the nomination. I hope we can close the book on that ambiguity. If you are a Democrat, and you admire Hillary Clinton's policy proposals, then Barack Obama is your most sensible second choice. Likewise, if you really kick the tires and check under each Democrat's hood, then Hillary is your plan B, should Barack fail to win. According to a new Pew poll, 32% of Clinton supporters say they'll vote for McCain if Hillary doesn't take the nomination. An almost identical 28% of Obama's faithful claim they'll pull a Republican lever if Clinton tops their candidate. Perhaps cooler heads are starting to prevail. I'd like to think so, anyway. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Democrats, Barack Obama, 2008 President Another Barack Obama superdelegate bites the dust. Today, the governor of Puerto Rico, Anibal Acevedo Vila, was charged with campaign finance violations and lying to federal investigators. The Washington Post reports: Democrat Anibal Acevedo Vila, 48, and his top advisers accepted thousands of dollars in illegal campaign donations from Philadelphia area businessmen and their employees to wipe away substantial debts stemming from campaign expenses prior to 2002, which were never reported to federal election officials, Justice Department officials said. Acevedo Vila, who served as Puerto Rico's resident commissioner in the U.S. House of Representatives between 2001 and 2005, also took money in connection with his official role but did not declare the income for tax purposes, according to the indictment unveiled this morning. Vila's endorsement was touted on Obama's web site, but the campaign now says he's just one of many. "Though he is a supporter, he holds no title and has no formal role with the campaign," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. As the Post reports, it wasn't always so: When Obama landed Vila's support in February, he had welcomed what a campaign press release called the "potentially key support from one of the island's superdelegates in a close fight for the Democratic presidential nomination." Hey, that is so last month. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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Klein Suggests GoreObama a Possibility
By Jay Allbritton (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:08:00 AM

Gore Won't Put His Money Where His Mouth Is
By Justin Paulette (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 2:19:00 AM

Filed under: 2008 President, Al Gore Mike Allen of The Politico dropped a tantalizing nugget in a post this morning. It appears Time Magazine's Joe Klein is floating a Gore-Obama ticket as a possible resolution to the fight over the Democratic presidential nomination. The pitch from Klein goes like this: Let's say the elders of the Democratic Party decide, when the primaries end, that neither Obama nor Clinton is viable. ... All they'd have to do would be to convince a significant fraction of their superdelegate friends, maybe fewer than 100, to announce that they were taking a pass on the first ballot at the Denver convention, which would deny the 2,025 votes necessary to Obama or Clinton. What if they then approached Gore and asked him to be the nominee, for the good of the party -and suggested that he take Obama as his running mate? ... A prominent fund raiser told me, 'Gore-Obama is the ticket a lot of people wanted in the first place. A former

Gore adviser told Allen that a much more likely scenario would involve Gore making a strong closing argument to the super delegates for one candidate or another. This week, Democratic Representative Tim Mahoney stoked Gore-mania when he told a Florida paper, "If it (the nomination process) goes into the convention, don't be surprised if someone different is at the top of the ticket." Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Environment, Al Gore Today is the deadline of the Global Warming Challenge- a bet proposed by J. Scott Armstrong, a climate-change skeptic who doubts the varsity of climate forecasting models upon which Al Gore had based many of his dooms-day predictions. The challenge dictates that Armstrong and Gore each put $10,000 into a Charitable Trust Fund. Armstrong then proposes to forecast temperature change more accurately than any climate model Gore chooses over a 10-year period.

Armstrong forecasts that global mean temperature will not change. Gore insisted that he was too busy to enter into the bet by the original deadline, so Armstrong extended until today. Gore

has failed to accept. Of course, this entire ordeal is a political stunt. The cash involved is minuscule and the bet requires an excessive duration. However, it does illuminate a single point: Gore is willing to wager taxpayer money on his wild, the-sky-is-falling hypothesis, but he feels that personal risks are beneath his merit. I commend Mr. Gore for refusing to wager his wealth on such a bet, and hope that voters do likewise whenever the issue is brought before them on a ballot. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

When Genius Fails Again, and Again
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 2:30:00 PM

"Obama Opportunity" - New Ad
By Greg McNeilly (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 12:34:00 PM

Filed under: Barack Obama, Ads, 2008 President Barack Obama's campaign is airing a new :60 second ad in Pennsylvania. It is titled "Opportunity." The script for "Opportunity" reads: Barack Obama: I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message. My own story wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the American Dream... I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents... My grandfather served in Patton's Army. My grandmother worked on a bomber assembly line. They didn't have money. But they gave me love, a thirst for education and a belief that we're all part of

something larger than ourselves. So I worked my way through college and law school. I first came to Chicago because I saw people being laid off of steel plants that were closing... and nobody was fighting for them... As an organizer with Christian churches I helped those workers and took their fight to the state Senate---- passing tax cuts and health care for families. In Washington, I got better care for wounded troops who'd been neglected. And passed the toughest law ever to rein in lobbyists so we can make government work for people. The Keystone primary is April 22nd. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Was this the motto for Long Term Capital Management alumni? It certainly seems that way. But perhaps it's time to find a new one. It turns out that Long Term Capital founder John Meriwether isn't the only survivor of the hedge fund that imploded spectacularly in 1998 who is having trouble surviving today. Eric Rosenfeld, a former Salomon Brothers trader who helped Meriwether start both L.T.C.M. and J.W.M. Partners, has his own troubled tale to tell, Portfolio.com has learned. Rosenfeld parted ways with Meriwether to start his own fund last year. He reunited with L.T.C.M.'s former chief financial officer, Robert Shustak, and the fund's former controller, Bruce Wilson, to start Quantitative Alternatives LLC in Rye Brook, New York. The plan, according to reports, was to use statistical models for trading strategies much like those employed by the ill-fated L.T.C.M. It had hoped to start trading by

the end of last year. But that day would never come. The fund never got off the ground, and the three partners decided to fold the operation at the end of last year. But unlike the dramatic finale of L.T.C.M., Quantitative Alternatives exited the scene in silence. "The capital raising environment was very challenging," says Shustak, who was reached by phone in his new office at QFS Asset Management. "At the end of the year, we just decided it wasn't the right time to raise a new quantitative fund. We didn't feel it was appropriate." No one knows about today's challenging environment better than Meriwether, who is now struggling to keep his nine-year old hedge fund solvent, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Meriwether started J.W.M. Partners with five other principals of L.T.C.M., including Rosenfeld, and its biggest fund is down 28 percent so far this year. As for the defunct Quantitative Alternatives, Shustak declined to say how much money the trio raised before quietly calling it quits. He landed on his feet at QFS earlier this year, and Shustak says

Wilson is now working for Third Point Partners, an activist fund run by the outspoken Daniel Loeb. Rosenfeld, however, is still "exploring his different options," Shustak says. Efforts to reach Rosenfeld both at home and at the former offices of Quantitative Alternatives were unsuccessful. So is there a Long Term Capital curse? When two or more former L.T.C.M. traders enter the same room, does lightning strike? Shustak doesn't think there's enough evidence that the shared experiences at L.T.C.M. have anything to do with the success or failure of a new joint venture. And he has reason to hope that's true. One of the principals of QFS, Shustak's current firm, worked in the back office for L.T.C.M., according to his bio. Related Links It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Meriwether Decimates his Partners' Capital, Again Another Hedge Fund Tracker Launches

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Comcast Backs Down
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:30:00 AM

Politicians: How Much is TMI?
By Denise Williams (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 10:10:00 AM

Filed under: Scandal, Eliot Spitzer Newly inaugurated NY Governor David Paterson, who has already to admitted to affairs and cocaine use, held a press conference today and told the gathered, "I think that, more than any elected official on the planet and probably in outer space, I have discussed my personal situation over the last week" and that there would be no more press conferences about his private life.

I'm not a New Yorker and certainly don't know the governor, but somehow I don't believe that this will not be the last we hear from Paterson regarding his personal life. Call me cynical... Well, New York Magazine has made a handy chart to reference all the most popular sexual scandals while we wait for the inevitable press conference from the next pol that can't keep it in his pants or out of his nose. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, said today that it will change its controversial network management practices and work with file-sharing services to address complaints that it unfairly blocks certain peer-to-peer traffic. But consumer groups weren't buying it. The Federal Communications Commission is currently investigating Comcast over charges that it stifles legal peer-to-peer traffic on its network. Consumer groups and network-neutrality advocates have been pushing the F.C.C. and Congress to forbid Comcast to discriminate against legal traffic on its network. Today's announcement is a stunning turnaround for a company that until just months ago denied it engaged in any Web blocking at all. After the Associated Press caught Comcast blocking certain traffic, the company was forced to admit that it "delays" certain peer-to-peer traffic, but it defended the practice as "reasonable network management." Comcast said that by the end of 2008, its network-management policy will be "protocol agnostic"—meaning it will not favor one type of traffic over another—and will instead focus on users who consume the most bandwidth. "This means that we will have to rapidly reconfigure our network-management systems, but the outcome will be a trafficmanagement technique that is more appropriate for today's emerging internet trends," Comcast chief technology officer Tony Werner said in a statement. Comcast will also expand its network capacity to better accommodate rapidly increasing bandwidth consumption, said John Schanz, a Comcast Cable executive vice president.

"We plan to more than double the upstream capacity of our residential internet service in several key markets by year end 2008," Schanz said. Comcast also said it had agreed to work with file-sharing service BitTorrent in an effort to address the best way to manage peer-to-peer traffic, one of the most bandwidth-intensive activities on the Web. "Recognizing that the Web is richer and more bandwidth-intensive than it has been historically, we are pleased that Comcast understands these changing traffic patterns and wants to collaborate with us to migrate to techniques that the internet community will find to be more transparent," said Eric Klinker, BitTorrent's chief technology officer. Meanwhile, consumer groups reacted warily to Comcast's about-face. Nicholas Reville, co-founder and executive director of the Participatory Culture Foundation, wasn't buying what Comcast was selling. "Comcast is taking a page right out of the auto-industry playbook: Car companies deny the importance of global warming while using announcements of future technology to block meaningful environmental protections," said Reville. "Comcast can see that public demands for net-neutrality protections are growing—this announcement is a transparent attempt to distract from that debate." "The announcement from Comcast and BitTorrent has absolutely nothing to do with the need for net-neutrality protections and BitTorrent certainly does not speak for other torrent technology companies," Reville added. Gigi Sohn, president of consumer rights group Public Knowledge, called Comcast's agreement with BitTorrent "irrelevant," and said in a statement that it does not have "any bearing on the complaint and petitions pending before the Federal

Communications Commission on what rights users have on the internet." "The F.C.C. should continue to reinforce its principles of internet access and should continue to work for the benefit of consumers regardless of any particular arrangements made by the private sector," Sohn added. Markham Erickson, executive director of the Open Internet Coalition, which lobbies for net neutrality, said that "despite the welcome news that Comcast and BitTorrent are working together, the F.C.C. still needs to reinforce these efforts by establishing the basic rules of the road for BitTorrent users and all internet consumers by defining permissible broadband network-management practices." "Time and time again, when the telcoms and cable companies engage in discriminatory behavior against certain types of speech and content—as we've seen with AT&T, Verizon, and most recently with Comcast—a familiar pattern emerges," Erickson said. "First, a spotlight gets focused on the bad behavior," he said. "Then, when exposed, the companies state such action is within their power as network operators. After that, the F.C.C. and Congress focus on these discriminatory acts, and finally, the companies do a U-turn and apologize. "While it's always a positive step when these companies admit the error of their ways," added Erickson, "it's a bad way to run the internet." Related Links Comcast Has Plenty of Room for Video — Its Own F.C.C. Warns Comcast Over Web 'Blocking' Crackdown: Comcast Blocks Peer-toPeer Web Traffic

See a recession ahead? Think Colgate
By Joseph Lazzaro (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 10:13:00 AM

Filed under: Colgate-Palmolive (CL), Stocks to Buy With the markets still in a choppy/consolidation mode (or perhaps

worse), it's best to consider including a few defensive stocks in your portfolio, and with the aforementioned in mind ColgatePalmolive is worth an evaluation. Colgate-Palmolive Company(NYSE: CL)'s restructuring is working, and its 2008/2009 results will continue to show it.

In late 2004 CL initiated a 4-year cost reduction program including a 10% workforce reduction, new product rollouts, an emphasis on larger-growth markets, and the more-savvy deployment of marketing resources. The results to-date? The CL train is

moving forward, with analysts generally seeing near-double-digit annual revenue growth through at least 2009, and probably longer. An eye-opening stat -- Colgate is an enhanced, global consumer products defensive play: 65% of CL's revenue stems from personal, oral, and home care sales

outside North America. Continue reading See a recession ahead? Think Colgate Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Fee for All
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:00:00 AM

Edgar Bronfman Jr.'s Warner Music Group has tapped industry veteran Jim Griffin to spearhead a controversial plan to bundle a monthly fee into consumers' internet-service bills for unlimited access to music. The plan—the boldest move yet to keep the wounded entertainment industry giants afloat—is simple: Consumers will pay a monthly fee, bundled into an internetservice bill in exchange for unfettered access to a database of all known music. Bronfman's decision to hire Griffin, a respected industry critic, demonstrates the desperation of the recording industry. It has shrunk to a $10 billion business from $15 billion in almost a decade. Compact disc sales are plummeting as online music downloads skyrocket. Also on Portfolio.com: MySpace and Friends Need to Make Money The answer may lie in creating "social ads." Future Pop CDs are history. U.S. labels should look to Jin-Young Park if they hope to survive."Today, it has become purely voluntary to pay for music," Griffin told Portfolio.com in an exclusive sit-down this week. "If I tell you to go listen to this band, you could pay, or you might not. It's pretty much up to you. So the music business has become a big tip jar." Nothing provokes sheer terror in the recording industry more than the rise of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. For years, digital-music seers have argued the rise of such networks has made copyright law obsolete and free music distribution universal. Bronfman has asked Griffin, formerly Geffen Music's digital chief, to develop a model that would create a pool of money from user fees to be distributed to artists and copyright holders. Warner has given

Griffin a three-year contract to form a new organization to spearhead the plan. Griffin says he hopes to move beyond the years of acrimonious record-industry litigation against illegal file-swappers, college students in particular. "We're still clinging to the vine of music as a product," Griffin says, calling the industry’s plight "Tarzan" economics. "But we're swinging toward the vine of music as a service. We need to get ready to let go and grab the next vine, which is a pool of money and a fair way to split it up, rather than controlling the quantity and destiny of sound recordings." Warner Music Share Price In the last year, the Recording Association of America, the industry group that represents the major labels, has sent 5,400 threatening letters to students at more than 150 schools, and reached settlements with more than 2,300 them. It has filed formal lawsuits against 2,465 others, who did not respond. "I don't think we should be suing students and I don't think we should be suing people in their homes," says Griffin. "We want to monetize the anarchy of the internet." Griffin says Warner Music is "totally committed to this." The fundamental issue, he says, is whether music consumers will buy songs and albums individually, or whether they will subscribe monthly to access a "universal" database of songs. Will Tanous, Warner Music's communications chief, said Griffin's initiative is part of Warner's "ongoing effort to explore new business models in the music industry." In recent weeks, major music industry players have signaled their interest in the "music as a service" model. Sony BMG Music Entertainment is said to be developing an online music subscription service that would give users unlimited access to its catalog. Apple is reportedly negotiating with the major record labels to offer consumers free

access to the entire iTunes library in exchange for paying a premium for Apple hardware. Warner's plan would have consumers pay an additional fee—maybe $5 a month—bundled into their monthly internet-access bill in exchange for the right to freely download, upload, copy, and share music without restrictions. Griffin says those fees could create a pool as large as $20 billion annually to pay artists and copyright holders. Eventually, advertising could subsidize the entire system, so that users who don't want to receive ads could pay the fee, and those who don't mind advertising wouldn't pay a dime. "Ideally, music will feel free," says Griffin. "Even if you pay a flat fee for it, at the moment you use it there are no financial considerations. It's already been paid for." While few of the plan's details have emerged, critics have begun their attacks. David Barrett, engineering manager for peer-to-peer networks at Web contentdelivery giant Akamai, says he's opposed to it on principle. Griffin's plan, he says, is tantamount to extortion, because it forces everyone to join. "It's too late to charge people for what they're already getting for free," says Barrett. "This is just taxation of a basic, universal service that already exists, for the benefit a distant power that actively harasses the people being taxed without offering them any meaningful representation." Griffin, who in 1994 was part of the team that made Aerosmith's "Head First" the

first song available on the internet, goes to great pains to emphasize that the collective licensing plan is not "his" plan. "This isn't my idea," says Griffin. "While I would gladly take the credit, blanket licensing has over 150 years of history behind it." "Collective licensing is what people do when they lose control, or when control is no longer practical or efficient," Griffin says. "A pool of money and a fair way to split it up replaces control." Griffin was quick to point out that the $5 figure is arbitrary. "We negotiate in every place," Griffin says. "Clearly $5 per month would be an insane number in China or India. If you could get a nickel a month you could grow the business tenfold in those countries. In another country that had a high G.D.P., a nickel per month would be ridiculously cheap. So you negotiate. Fair is whatever you agree upon." Griffin says Bronfman and Michael Nash, the company's digital-strategy chief, brought him into Warner to create an organization to negotiate collective licensing deals. But Griffin's ambitions extend far beyond just Warner Music. "We're building a [as yet unnamed] company inside Warner that is not intended to be solely owned by Warner," Griffin says. "We hope all of the rights holders will come in and take ownership with us, and Warner will not control it. Our goal is to create a collective society for the digital age." Meanwhile, critics have already attacked the plan as a kind of mandatory "culture tax." "Jim will vehemently deny the 'tax' label," says Akamai's Barrett. "But it's a tax nonetheless. It'll be a governmentapproved cartel that collects money from virtually everyone—often without their knowledge—and failure to pay their tax will ultimately result in people with guns coming to your door. "Jim's proposal does nothing but direct

money to the very people that tried to prevent this future from coming to be," Barrett adds, "while further legitimizing the terror being waged in the courtrooms against their members." Griffin dismisses such criticism. "I understand what David is thinking, but I assure you, we have no such interest in government running this or having any part of it," he says. Griffin says that in just the few weeks since Warner began working on this plan, the company has been approached by internet service providers "who want to discharge their risk." "But more important than the risk for an I.S.P. is the marketing," Griffin says, drawing a comparison to Starbucks' marketing of "fair trade" coffee. "I.S.P.'s want to distinguish themselves with marketing," Griffin says. "You can only imagine that an I.S.P. that marketed a 'fair trade' network connection would see a marketing advantage." Gerd Leonhard, a respected musicindustry consultant who has advised Sony/BMG, which recently announced plans for a flat-rate-subscription model for digital music, rejects Barrett's argument that the monthly fee amounts to a tax. "This is not a tax," says Leonhard. "It's bundled into another charge." "People should not be too harsh on Jim for trying to get the ball rolling," says Leonhard. "At this point, 96 percent of the population is guilty of some sort of infringement, whether they're streaming or downloading or sharing. "What we have here is the widespread use of technology that declares all of the population to be illegal." Related Links The Pirates Can't Be Stopped Coming Down Hard on Downloaders Splitting the Apple Online

Andreessen, Worthwhile Reading
By Kevin Maney (Portfolio.com: Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 7:14:06 AM

Marc Andreessen has a new company,

Ning, and seems to be active in business. But really, he seems to be morphing into something of a scruffy philosopher/preacher pumped up on massive quantities of Red Bull. Somehow,

he manages to find time to pop out long, well-argued blog posts that would challenge most professional writers. Marc has started on a series that riffs on theories espoused by Charlie Munger, who

is the quiet business partner of Warren Buffett. It's quite a start, and will be interesting to see if Marc will the see series through. Related Links

Andreessen's Truth-Telling, and Lots of It Andreessen's Amazing Blog, Cont'd Sowood: Long Debt, Short Equity

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Worthless Wall Street Research
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 3:00:00 AM

Why does anyone still pay attention to analysts covering Wall Street banks? In a time when Bear Stearns is worth $30 a share one week, $2 the next, and then $10 the next, is it any wonder that Wall Street research on Wall Street firms is meaningless? Yet still, investors eat up their research reports, selling on downgrades, buying on rare positive comments, and holding unless otherwise instructed. Take Meredith Whitney. Shares of Citigroup plunged nearly 6 percent yesterday after the Oppenheimer analyst quadrupled her estimate for its losses during the current quarter. Whitney became the latest star research analyst last October, when she correctly predicted that Citigroup would need to cut its dividend and raise billions in capital. Ever since, she's been the bear that the Street loves to hate. But in her report yesterday, aside from the pages upon pages of disclosures required by regulators of equity analysts, what was perhaps Whitney's most important disclosure evidently got very little notice: "[W]e have very little earnings visibility and very little confidence in our estimates." She goes on to say that she doesn't believe she's alone in this predicament. She may have little confidence in her estimates, but that doesn't stop her from changing her mind about them. A lot. It was just a month ago that Whitney made

headlines when she slashed her firstquarter estimate for Citigroup from a profit of 68 cents per share to a loss of 28 cents. Now the estimate stands at a per-share loss of $1.15. Lehman Brothers evidently presents a similar conundrum. After the bank reported earnings last week, Whitney maintained her buy rating and her $63 price target, calling the report "encouraging." But less than one week later, Oppenheimer downgraded Lehman stock to neutral and Whitney removed her price target without replacing it. The reason was the "protracted challenging capital markets environment," the very same environment during which Bear Stearns' value quintupled. Whitney is right about one thing, though: She isn't alone. William Tanona at Goldman Sachs is another analyst who has won accolades by making smart calls on expected losses during this credit crisis. His latest research is only bound to baffle investors further. After Lehman's earnings announcement last week, Tanona raised his estimates and his price target, and called the stock's price "an attractive entry point." He wrote that he expects the Fed's liquidity facility will help alleviate some strains on the entire broker-dealer industry. Tanona apparently hasn't gotten whatever memo Whitney got on Lehman several days after its earnings announcement. His recommendation still stands. And after Morgan Stanley reported better

-than-expected results last week, Tanona was positively elated (by today's standards, anyway), and wrote, "We do believe the worst is behind us and that Monday of this week marked a turning point in the stock." But others at Goldman Sachs aren't so sure. Earlier this week, Andrew Tilton, the bank's chief economist, reported that, by his estimates, the banks haven't even come close to disclosing all of their losses related to the credit crunch. He predicts banks and brokers will eventually own up to $460 billion in credit losses, more than double the $120 billion they've announced so far. What's it going to be? Are we nearly out of the woods, or so thick in them still that we can't see our hands in front of our faces? To be fair, it's not easy being an equityresearch analyst. And it's even more difficult in an environment like we're in, where no one seems to know what anything is worth, and banking leaders have lost credibility. Throw in the confusion around the Bear Stearns fallout, and you've got the making of a perfect storm for anyone in the prediction business. It's easy to pick on them, but the analysts are arguably doing the best with what they've got. They shouldn't stop now. But investors should stop listening. Related Links Awaiting Citi's Big Number A Tale of Two Wall Streets Mark-to-Model on Wall Street: The Numbers

MySpace and Friends Need to Make Money. And Fast.
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/26/2008 1:30:00 PM

The numbers are amazing. MySpace's membership has ballooned from 20 million people in 2005 to 225 million today, an average annual growth rate of 513 percent. Rival Facebook grew at 550 percent a year during the same period. LinkedIn's rate was 182 percent. Yet one social networking metric is distinctly underwhelming: the one with a dollar sign. Lookery, an ad network specializing in social media, offers display ads on MySpace, Facebook, and Bebo for only 13 cents per thousand times the ad is served (CPM); Yahoo's average CPM is estimated at $13. Video ads on MySpace reportedly fetch just $25 per thousand showings; CBS charges $50 on affiliated sites, NBC as much as $75. Social networking was supposed to be the Net's next rocket to riches. But many social sites are having trouble capitalizing on their audiences, and it's looking like the convivial atmosphere that promised to boost the value of commercial messages may actually diminish it. Even the big brains at Google are stumped. The search king, which pays a special rate to place ads on MySpace, has suggested that it may be paying too much. "I don't think we have the killer best way to advertise and monetize the social networks yet," Sergey Brin admitted during a January conference call with analysts.

Some smaller competitors are doing better. LinkedIn, for example, has a CPM as high as $75. The difference: The site caters to professionals, making it easier to target ads. (It helps that the company also charges for premium features and job listings.) For sites with broader audiences, the key may be to give advertising a social dimension. Facebook tried to do just that with Beacon and Social Ads. These formats send users an alert or display ad when one of their pals patronizes an advertiser. But Facebook has yet to gauge the effectiveness of these programs because online privacy watchdogs pounced, and the site moved quickly to let members opt out. Still, the idea that ads can be a social experience is the industry's best hope. Social Vibe encourages members to choose brands to endorse on their pages. AdRoll shares ads across related niche sites, turning a blogroll into an ad network. But it may take time to work out the business ramifications of online friendship. The first site to meld commercial messaging gracefully into these new group dynamics will have advertisers poking them to be friends. Related Links MySpace Is This, And Your Space is That Facebook Page? Or Exhibit A in Court? Diller Disses Writers Strike, Facebook, and MySpace

Harvard's New Stockpicker
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:30:00 AM

Look out, Harvard. There's a new girl in town. Actually, it's a familiar face to the Crimson crowd. After an extensive search, Harvard has hired Jane Mendillo to oversee its $35 billion endowment. Mendillo spent 15 years at Harvard Management Company before leaving in

2002 to manage the endowment for Wellesley College. During her five years at the women's school, the fund grew from $1 billion to $1.7 billion, and had annualized returns of 13.5 percent, according to an announcement by Harvard. She returns to Harvard to run the country's largest university endowment, a position that was vacated by Mohamed ElErian last year. El-Erian returned to the giant bond fund Pacific Investment

Management Co. Mendillo worked at Harvard from 1987 to 2002 in a number of different management positions. During most of that time, she worked under the legendary investment manager Jack Meyer. When Meyer joined Harvard in 1990, the endowment was worth $4.7 billion. Under his oversight, aggressive fundraising efforts and more diversified investment strategies helped it grow to nearly $23

billion by the time he left in 2005. Meyer launched an investment strategy that's still paying off handsomely today—one that relies less on stocks and bonds and more on alternative investments like real estate and hedge funds. He left to start his own investment firm with several of his top managers from Harvard after a firestorm erupted over the compensation packages of the fund's employees.

As a protégé of Meyer's, Mendillo should be a welcome sight to the endowment office, which has been without a leader during one of the most tumultuous market cycles in its history. Related Links Back to the Beach, as Heir Apparent Harvard Gets It Right Again El-Erian Leaves Harvard, Returns to Pimco

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Radio Deal: Dont Touch That Dial
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 4:30:00 AM

What's Up With Lehman?
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:30:00 AM

The fight over a $19 billion buyout of radio chain Clear Channel Communications may have just started—but it has already drawn blood. Clear Channel says it has won a temporary restraining order from a Texas judge against the banks that had agreed to finance the deal, requiring them not to interfere with the buyout by refusing to fund it or demanding new terms. Six banks—Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank, and Wachovia—had made commitments for more than $22 billion of financing for the buyout by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners. But the market for deal debt has eroded. The company said that Judge John Gabriel of the state district court in Bexar County, Texas, found on Wednesday night in favor of its claim that "irreparable harm would result if the banks were not immediately enjoined from tortiously interfering with the merger agreement." The banks have not yet responded to the judge's order. On Wednesday, both Clear Channel and the two buyout firms sued the banks in New York and Texas courts. "The financial risk to the banks in this suit dwarfs any risk they think they have in funding the debt," said Mark Mays, chief

executive of Clear Channel Communications. "The behavior of these banks is irresponsible, unprofessional, and unjustified." The firms say that the banks have tried to renege on the commitments they made nearly a year ago. "It seems clear that lenders' remorse set in when credit markets worsened," the firms said in a statement. "Now they are trying to walk away from their commitment letter which clearly states that they bear all the risk that conditions in the debt markets might change." The deal, first announced in November 2006, is now for $39.20 per share. On Wednesday, Clear Channel shares tumbled 17 percent, to $26.92, amid reports that the buyout was collapsing. The question is whether the legal squaring off is all for show—a prelude to a renegotiated buyout at a lower price. Steven Davidoff, the deal professor on DealBook, points out that the plaintiffs in the Texas lawsuit have brought in a big gun: Joe Jamail, the lawyer who in 1985 won a $10.5 billion verdict against Texaco for interfering with a deal between Pennzoil and Getty. Related Links How Big Is Too Big? Recipe for Success Don't Trust Prediction Markets in the Final Hours

Now that Wall Street has taken a deep breath and relaxed over the fate of Bear Stearns, it apparently needs to start worrying about someone else. Shares of Lehman Bothers have been battered today by rumors of a possible Bear-like run on the bank. A spokeswoman for Lehman denied that there was anything to the rumors and the stock, which was down by 10 percent earlier, recovered a bit by mid-afternoon, trading at $39, down 8 percent. Also on Portfolio.com: The Debt Shuffle New questions emerge. Burned on the Street Why investors should stop listening. Earlier in the day, April options to sell Lehman at $30 were very active. As the headline on the Wall Street Journal's MarketBeat blog put it: "Your Weekly Scheduled Bank Stock Freak-Out" Kerrie Cohen, a spokeswoman for Lehman Brothers, told Reuters, "There are a lot of rumors in the marketplace that are totally unfounded. We are suspicious that the rumors are being promulgated by short

sellers of our stock that have an economic self-interest." Lehman, which like Bear has been a huge player in the mortgaged-backedsecurities business, has in recent weeks been very vocal in emphasizing that its liquidity position is much stronger than Bear's was. Still, questions about Lehman persist. Jesse Eisinger last week gave a skeptical assessment about Lehman's balance sheet, noting that its leverage and assets rose in the first quarter. More troubling, Eisinger said, was that the firm changed the way it defines "tangible equity" or the hard assets that it has left over after subtracting its liabilities. To be sure, when it comes to market worries, Lehman is not the only financial firm. Shares of Merrill Lynch were down 5 percent today after analysts forecast a lost for its first quarter. Related Links For the Record Subprime: It's Not About Creditworthiness Illiquidity and Insolvency in the Commercial Real Estate Market

New internet report welcomed by music label trade group
By Richard Driver (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 8:46:00 AM

Samba in the Air
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:30:00 AM

Brazil offers something that U.S. airlines can only envy: rising fares. Airfares in Brazil, already 50 percent higher than comparable fares in the United States, are expected to rise 15 percent this year. Brazil is becoming an economic powerhouse, and more of its citizens are starting to fly. Facing that kind of opportunity, David Neeleman, the founder of JetBlue, announced plans today to start a domestic

airline in Brazil that will take on the two giants that dominate the market, TAM and Gol. He says he has raised $150 million and that the airline plans to start next year, with as many as 76 Embraer aircraft by 2013. "Our target market is the 150 million passengers who travel annually by longdistance bus as well as those who, for lack of a convenient alternative, don't travel at all," Neeleman said. "We respect TAM and Gol as well-run companies with deep pockets. We believe, however, that the Brazilian market is ready for a third major

airline and that there is sufficient untapped potential to support all of us." The name of the airline has yet to be decided. Neeleman has a website, www.voceescolhe.com.br, that invites would-be passengers to choose a name (in Portuguese, of course). Neeleman was born in Brazil and lived there as a Mormon missionary. As a result, he is able to overcome Brazil's restrictions on foreign investment in airlines. JetBlue has been a rare success story in U.S. aviation. But it had an embarrassing setback in February 2007, when an ice

storm stranded hundreds of passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport for many hours. Neeleman stepped down as chief executive in May, but remains as chairman. In Brazil, he won't have to worry about ice storms. Related Links Tips for a Sky-High Spring Achtung, JetBlue JetBlue: When Irish Skies Are Smiling

Filed under: International markets, Industry International music industry trade group IFPI is applauding recommendations made in a new British report about "the potential hazards the Internet can pose to children." The Byron Report is being accepted and implemented by the British government, calling for new gaming review systems and having the British Department for Children Schools and Families and the Department for Culture Media and Sport "vowing to work with industry, schools and parents to ensure children and young people remain safe in the online world." Billboard also reports that the IFPI is planning its "own guide for parents and teachers informing them on how to obtain music safely and legally online." The merits of commending the new report on Internet safety are obvious, so it is no surprise the IFPI would welcome it. At the same time, one has to wonder how illegal music downloading is connected to the fears of the violent nature of online games. Regardless, as Billboard notes, greater fears of identity theft and online fraud were pertinent in the report and it is possible to understand where fears of children and illegal downloading would come in. Unfortunately, despite the merits and value in the Byron Report, the fact that the IFPI would applaud it so greatly only speaks to the lengths that trade group is willing to go to prohibit illegal downloading. With as much resistance as the IFPI is facing in a number of countries about having Internet providers turn over users that illegally download, the connection to fears based on children's access to the Internet makes sense because it markets the IFPI to consumers who might otherwise be unaware of their existence. Permalink| Email this| Comments

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And we thought Florida real estate was bad
By Zack Miller (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:19:00 AM

Banc of America gives eBay a lift
By Michael Fowlkes (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 8:43:00 AM

Obama: Just because you're rich doesn't mean we need to pay more taxes
By Aaron Katsman (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 10:32:00 AM

Filed under: International markets, Housing, Recession In an article I wrote yesterday, entitled Hitting the skids in Florida, I examined the fallout of depressed real estate prices and how folks are coping with a new reality. Today, the FT has an article about how the changes in global real estate are affecting places like Spain. In Spain's Property Market Headed for a Fall, the FT examines financial conditions in Spain that are leading to a perfect storm. The story cites tightening credit conditions (ie, it's harder to borrow money), the oversupply of houses, and rampant price inflation as leading to a precarious present for Spanish residents. Spanish prices have dropped almost 30% from where they were at this time last year.

Sound familiar? We're suffering from some of the same malaise but I have to say, that after a slow going, our Federal Reserve has moved quickly and decisively to address some of the same issues on American soil. The difference between the Spanish situation and our own appears to be government intervention. Where our Federal Reserve has added a lot of liquidity into ailing banks, lowered interest rates, and even orchestrated a bailout, Spain's Socialist government seems focused on job retraining and stepping up public works projects. We'll see where this all pans out. Zack Miller is the managing editor of IsraelNewsletter.com and a former equity analyst for a leading multinational hedge fund. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Major movement, Analyst upgrades and downgrades, eBay (EBAY) Shares of the online auction site eBay, Inc.(NASDAQ: EBAY) have been surging today after positive remarks from Banc of America Securities analyst Brian J. Pitz, who stated that the company is on track for a"solid" first quarter to the year. Pitz made his remarks after analyzing the company's recent proprietary listings and conversion rate tracking data. As a result of his findings, Pitz gives the stock a price target of $38, and lifted his revenue forecast for the quarter from $2.03 billion up to $2.08 billion. This is slightly higher than the $2.06 billion that Wall Street is expecting to see, and as a result shares of the e-commerce giant have surged 5% today to $30.96, and hit a high earlier in the session up at $31.21. eBay has been in the news a lot lately, but for the most part, it has not been positive. The company has been fighting off speculation that a seller's strike late last

month that extended into the first week of March had had any material impact on the site's listing numbers. Some have argued that the strike led to a 13% drop in product listings, but eBay has adamantly denied any impact what-so-ever, and instead has insisted that a promotion that ran right before the strike had artificially inflated product listing numbers that were used to compute the strike's effectiveness. Continue reading Banc of America gives eBay a lift Permalink| Email this| Comments

Ford sells off premium brands
By Bruce Watson (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 10:47:00 AM

Filed under: Ford Motor (F) Reading the newspaper, there are times when I wonder if certain companies are actually trying to fail. Recently, the Ford Motor Company(NYSE: F) announced plans to sell its Jaguar and Land Rover brands to Tata, an Indian car company. While Ford paid $5.2 billion for the two companies ($2.5 billion for Jaguar in 1989 and $2.7 billion for Land Rover in 2000), it has sold them for a combined $1.7 billion,

less than a third of the purchase price. I don't really have anything against Ford. I once owned a Mustang convertible, which was a lot of fun to drive. Better yet, it was not that hard to work on, which proved helpful given its tendency toward constant technical problems. However, Ford's corporate governance has never been all that hot. I'm sure that there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for the fact that Ford hasn't been able to make money off of either of these impressive brands, but I wonder why the company spent money picking up luxury marques

when it was on somewhat shaky footing. Now that they've gotten rid of these two great companies, I hope that Ford will focus on the problems with its main car lines and the fact that they are gasguzzling, poorly-designed, and prone to technical problems. Of course, if that fails, they can always try buying Fiat and then reselling it to an Ethiopian manufacturer. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Interviews, Personal finance, Politics, Presidential elections In an interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, Presidential candidate Barack Obama started to spell out his economic plan. Obama said that he would raise capital gains taxes, "Well, you know, I haven't given a firm number. Here's my belief, that we can't go back to some of the, you know, confiscatory rates that existed in the past that distorted sound economics. And I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was the 28 percent. I would--and my guess would be it would be significantly lower than that. I think that we can have a capital gains rate that is higher than 15 percent." Just because the Senator got rich from his book doesn't mean that the rest of us should be punished for trying to grow our savings and our investments. Why should the middle-class have to pay higher capital gains tax so that Obama can bailout irresponsible home buyers? Hasn't he learned economics? It's pretty clear that if you punish and make it harder for wealth creation and invesment, that there won't be as much, and as a result the economy will get much worse. Continue reading Obama: Just because you're rich doesn't mean we need to pay more taxes Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Joost in the Browser
By Kevin Maney (Portfolio.com: Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/25/2008 5:52:02 AM

A few blogs have pointed out that there

was a bit of news buried in my story on Joost in this month's Portfolio magazine. (Working for a monthly, I didn't know whether the news would be out before my story ran -- but as it turns out, this is the

scoop, as they say.) Anyway, it's the bit about Joost soon playing inside the browser, rather than only in a special Joost player that must be downloaded. Joost did not say exactly

when this will happen -- only "later this year." But clearly it's important to CEO Mike Volpi.

10

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Closing Bell: More negative close than it felt like
By Jon Ogg (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:57:00 AM

Filed under: Google (GOOG), ConAgra Foods (CAG), Oracle Corp (ORCL), Lehman Br Holdings (LEH) The Commerce Department's Q4-2007 final revision for GDP came in at +0.6%, but that was in-line and the data is now more than 75-days old. But it does highlight the concerns that the growth rates this quarter just can not be good. It also set the tone for more selling. It just goes to show that it still pays in today's climate to sell when you are feeling good about the market and buy when you feel overly concerned. The Federal Reserve also auctioned off some $75 billion in treasury securities after

receiving bids for some $86.1 billion. This was the first auction of its kind and the next auction is set for April 3. Below are the unofficial closing prices: • DJIA 12,302.70 (-120.16; -0.97%) • NASDAQ 2,280.83 (-43.53; -1.87%) • S&P500 1,325.77 (-15.36; -1.15%) • 10YR-TBond 3.534% (+0.04%) • Key 52-Week Lows If you look at the unusual increase seen in short selling in many of the NASDAQ names from this morning, you might scratch your head. But that's the world we live in. Continue reading Closing Bell: More negative close than it felt like Permalink| Email this| Comments

Martin Wolf: 'Heads I win, tails you lose' financial incentives must stop
By Joseph Lazzaro (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 8:59:00 AM

Filed under: International markets, Other issues, Columns, Housing Financial eras, like social periods, are often defined by moments or epiphanies when decision makers and/or citizens realized that a serious flaw/mistake/problem was occurring through time, and across space, and needed to be corrected. The ever-incisive FT columnist and economist Martin Wolf describes one contemporary concern that's likely to be

addressed: the failure to align the interests of managers with those of investors. My BloggingStocks colleagues Peter Cohan and Zac Bissonnette have also written on the subject on several occasions in this space, and now the FT's Wolf has assembled additional data that may very well lead to public policy changes, both in Wolf's United Kingdom and in the United States. Continue reading Martin Wolf: 'Heads I win, tails you lose' financial incentives must stop Permalink| Email this| Comments

NVIDIA drivers responsible for nearly 30% of Vista crashes in 2007
By Nilay Patel (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 12:41:00 PM

Marathon Oil: Too cheap to not consider
By Joseph Lazzaro (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:40:00 AM

Skechers has outlined a plan for profit growth
By Joseph Lazzaro (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 10:58:00 AM

Filed under: Stocks to Buy Readers of this space know that oil/oil services has been a preferred sector. Given ramping demand in the developing world and oil's importance in a growing global economy, oil and oil services companies are likely to continue to experience steady demand for their services/products, and a provider worth a review is Marathon Oil. Marathon Oil Corporation(NYSE: MRO) has what analysts like to see in an oil operation: a large/geographically-wide

exploration footprint, very good production, and strong refining operations. Further, that last tangible may be the most valuable, given the barely-adequate refinery capacity in the United States. What's more, the stock market's early 2008 sell-off has created a buying opportunity with Marathon. With a p/e of about 9, MRO's risk/return ratio is low. The Reuters FY 2008/FY 2009 EPS consensus estimates for MRO are $6.33 to $6.77. Continue reading Marathon Oil: Too cheap to not consider Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Stocks to Buy The choppy/consolidating (or perhaps worse) market conditions sometimes give the impression that growth plays do not exist, but that is not the case, and one growth company worth reviewing is Skechers. Skechers USA Inc.(NYSE: SKX) designs and markets contemporary footwear for men, women and children under seven individual brands, including the Skechers, Michelle K, and Somethin'

Else names. In general, analysts expect adequate same store sales gains in FY 2008 for Skechers' 150 company-owned stores, and via department store distribution. Analysts also expect new product introductions to proceed cautiously, as the footwear sector braces for continued discretionary spending reductions by U.S. consumers, due to the sluggish U.S. economy. Continue reading Skechers has outlined a plan for profit growth Permalink| Email this| Comments

Cayne Sells Out
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 2:00:00 PM

It's over. Any hope that there will be a deal other than J.P. Morgan Chase's $10-per-share stock offer for Bear Stearns should now be finally dashed. James Cayne, the chairman and former

chief executive of Bear Stearns, has sold 5.6 million shares of Bear for $10.84 a share, or about $60.1 million, on Tuesday. It's quite a comedown for a man who was a billionaire about a year ago, when Bear's stock price was near $160. He had been among Bear's largest shareholders. The Securities and Exchange Commission filing indicates that Cayne's

wife sold 45,669 Bear shares. Related Links The Age of Reregulation Will Asking Mortgage Servicers to Modify Mortgages Have Much Impact? Bear Funds Being Liquidated: Who Wants to Buy?

Happy birthday: take a trip under: Transportation largest Filed in America's
Sometimes even the plugged-in HAPPY page 11 Engadget Block (Engadget) By Ryanreader needs to pick up and head out for more relaxing climes. Well, for our fourth birthday this month we're treating
Submitted at 3/27/2008 1:21:00 PM

Filed under: Desktops, Laptops That huge bundle of damning emails and documents Microsoft produced as part of the Vista-capable lawsuit is full of fascinating information about how the company developed, planned, and launched Vista, but the latest juicy nugget to come out if it suggests that a lot of problems faced by the troubled operating system are actually NVIDIA's fault -nearly 30% of logged Vista crashes were due to NVIDIA driver problems, according to a Microsoft data included in the bundle. That's some 479,326 hung systems, if you're keeping score at home, and it's in first place by a large margin -- Microsoft clocks in at number two at 17.9 percent, and ATI is fourth with 9.3 percent. Now, the chart doesn't contain a ton of additional information that would help put it in context -- a specific time period in 2007 would be nice, as would and driver and OS versions -- but we've been hearing about NVIDIA issues with Vista from the start, and this seems to confirm it. So that's pressure by Intel to support incompatible chipsets, outrage by Dell and Wal-Mart that the Vista Capable program was confusing customers, Microsoft executives saying they had been"personally burnt" by Vista, and now what looks like a huge NVIDIA driver problem -- who knows what else is going to come out of this lawsuit? At this point we're half expecting a photo of Gates signing a Save XP petition. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

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HAPPY 10 continued from page
destined for anywhere Virgin America flies. We wouldn't want you traveling in something that doesn't have power, network, and a seatback terminal, though, so you don't have to sweat about completely unplugging to get from point A to point B. Check out the rules below, and good luck! • Leave a comment below. It is in honor of our fourth birthday, after all, so we wouldn't mind a bit of adulation -- but it's up to you. • You may only enter this specific giveaway once. Although you can enter up to six times through the course of this six part giveaway, if you enter this specific giveaway more than once you'll be automatically disqualified, etc. (Yes, we have robots that thoroughly check to ensure fairness.) • If you enter more than once, only activate one comment. This is pretty self explanatory. Just be careful and you'll be fine. • Contest is open to anyone in the 50 States, 18 or older! Sorry, we don't make this rule (we hate excluding anyone ), so be mad at our lawyers and contest laws if you have to be mad. • Winner will be chosen randomly. That winner will get two round trip tickets anywhere Virgin America flies . Tickets are valid through May 31st, 2008, and are blacked out May 22-26. Approximate value is $599 per pair. You can only win once. • Entries can be submitted until Friday, March 28th, 11:59PM ET. Good luck! • Full rules can be found here. Oh, and be sure to enter part 1, part 2, part 3, or part 4 for another chance! Permalink| Email this| Comments

MIT spin-off 1366 Technologies touts better, cheaper solar cells
By Donald Melanson (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:57:00 AM

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets In what's become an increasingly familiar tune, a startup company has announced that it's just pulled in a significant haul of funding based on its promises of better, cheaper solar power. In this case, the company in question is 1366 Technologies, which was spun out of research from MIT and is headed by MIT professor Ely Sachs (who is taking a leave of absence to focus on the company). According to the company, it's found a way to make solar cells from multicrystalline silicon that are just as efficient as ones from single-crystal silicon, which is normally much more expensive to produce. In terms of hard numbers, that translates to solar cells that are 27 percent more efficient than your average solar cell, and (in its current state) a cost a $2.10 per watt. Sachs says that

cost will come down to $1.65 per watt when manufacturered on a commercial scale, however, and will eventually drop to $1.30 a watt with some "planned improvements." That's still short of the $1 a watt goal they're aiming for (which is roughly the cost of coal), but the company seems confident they can hit that mark by 2012 with some "anticipated advances." [Via Physorg] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Duo steals hundreds of iPhones, sells them all to one person
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 8:57:00 AM

OLPC keyboards literally being ripped apart
By Nilay Patel (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 8:22:00 AM

Filed under: Laptops You'd think that with a name like "One Laptop Per Child," NickNeg and company would have stress-tested their laptop with some actual children, but it looks like everyone's favorite green machine just isn't up to the toddler challenge -- OLPC owners are reporting that the laptop's rubberized keyboard is easily destroyed by inquisitive kids, who are peeling the keys off like so many scratch'n'sniff stickers. Apparently the keyboards start to split

above the U and J keys, and then Junior's off to the races. What's worse, OLPC doesn't appear to be shipping out replacement keyboards right now, leaving

frustrated owners in the lurch. Not to fear, though: Instructables is to the rescue with a pretty sweet USB keyboard mod. Here's what we're wondering though -- if the OLPC can't handle the abuse of some ungrateful little yuppie larvae, how is this thing supposed to hold up in the developing world? [Thanks Sanjay; photo courtesy of Niels_Olson] Read- Thread about OLPC keyboards Read- Instructables keyboard modd Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

PWN 2 OWN over: MacBook Air gets Filed under: Laptops seized in 2--page 12 youflat And just think minutes were PWN last year
By Darren Murph (Engadget)Submitted singing Dino Dai Zovi's praises for taking
VC. Kind of puts your refund in perspective. Related Links Follow the Bouncing Market War of Attrition Venezuela: No Oil for You! control of a MacBook Pro in nine whole

What Can a Tech Fan Do With That Tax Rebate
By Kevin Maney (Portfolio.com: Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/24/2008 7:25:10 AM

It's getting to be tax crunch time, and maybe you're looking forward to that rebate that President Bush signed into law

despite the fact that the government can hardly afford to give back $120 billion. Anyway, you can go on the Web and figure out with a few clicks what you probably will get. For me, about $1,300. Let's see, for that I could buy a decent Sony Vaio or Lenovo ThinkPad laptop. It's

also about the price range for a 47-inch flat -panel TV. I could buy a couple of unlocked iPhones. Although, it's a little depressing to know that Exxon made $1,300 a SECOND in 2007. Or that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales paid that much for a dinner with a

Filed under: Cellphones Apple's no stranger to having its wares ganked( a lot), but this one really has us scratching our noggins some kind of fierce. Apparently a couple of meddlesome 20-somethings working at a Salem, New Hampshire Apple store managed to scoot away with somewhere between 330 and 700 iPhones. After somehow stuffing that many handsets into a panel van / pickup truck / privately owned C-130, they seemingly sweet talked a single high-roller into snatching up their entire stash for upwards of $138,000 -- which could be a bargain (or not) depending on the actual quantity included in the deal, internal capacity, etc. Minutiae aside, both individuals are currently residing under the strong arm of the law (surveillance cameras are hard to dodge), but curiously, nothing is mentioned about the buyer who didn't find spending over a hundred large with a couple of average joes (who just happened to have an inordinately large amount of iPhones for sale) the least bit odd. [Thanks, Scott] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

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AT&T announces AT&T Mobile Ericsson set to demo 42 Mbps end-to-end HSPA Evolution TV for May launch By Chris Ziegler (Engadget) technology
Submitted at 3/27/2008 10:09:00 AM

NCAA Tourney causes internet traffic jams!
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/25/2008 9:09:14 AM

Filed under: Cellphones, Handhelds, Portable Video They haven't revealed anything we didn't already know, but AT&T's finally come out with a semi-firm date for the launch of its MediaFLO-powered mobile TV service which will be branded simply as "AT&T Mobile TV." It'll be available to subscribers in May -- no specific date just yet -- on two exclusive handsets, the Prada -esque LG Vu and the more pedestrian Samsung Access; the Vu features an expansive touchscreen and 2 megapixel camera, while the Access makes do with a smaller landscape display and a 1.3 megapixel sensor. Both feature Bluetooth and 3G data, but the real story here is Mobile TV itself, which will come with two new channels that are exclusive to AT&T (in other words, unavailable on the

By Donald Melanson (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:28:00 AM

other live MediaFLO service, VCAST TV from Verizon). The latest, hottest way to burn productivity on the go gets real in just a few short weeks, folks, so finish up whatever remaining work you have now. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Cellphones Apparently not content to let Nokia Siemens have the upgraded mobile broadband spotlight to itself today, Ericsson has now announced that it's set to demonstrate what it's touting as the "world-first end-to-end HSPA Evolution technology" at CTIA next week. That, the company says, should allow for speeds up to an impressive 42 Mbps, a feat made apparently possible by a combination of higher order modulation technology (64QAM) and 2x2 Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antenna technology. As

for the actual demonstration, Ericsson is only going so far as to say that it'll be conducted with an unspecified "handheld form-factor device" that's based on the Ericsson Mobile Platforms access technology. Other details are unsurprisingly pretty light at the moment, but we're betting Ericsson will have plenty more to say about it when they actually light things up at CTIA. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

The internet traffic monitoring website Compete.com is blogging that the free online March Madness On-Demand has generated waves and waves and spikes and spikes of traffic towards NCAASports.com. As you can see from their second graph the spikes are happening every March. Coincidence? :) Compete was also tracking the jump in traffic as people were e-lining up to signup for the free VIP access passes.

PWN page 11 continued from
hours. This year, the PWN 2 OWN hacking competition at CanSecWest was over nearly as quickly as the second day started, as famed iPhone hacker Charlie Miller showed the MacBook Air on display who its father really was. Apparently Mr. Miller visited a website which contained his exploit code (presumably via a crossover cable connected to a nearby MacBook), which then "allowed him to seize control of the computer, as about 20 onlookers [read: unashamed nerds] cheered him on." Of note, contestants could only use software that came pre-loaded on the OS, so obviously it was Safari that fell victim here. Nevertheless, he was forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement that'll keep him quiet until "TippingPoint can notify the vendor," but at least he'll have $10,000 and a new laptop to cuddle with during his silent spell. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Samsung launches 10.2-megapixel L210 point-andshoot
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:48:00 AM

Filed under: Digital Cameras Now isn't this bugger just as cute as a button? Even if red isn't your hue of choice, Samsung's L210 point-and-shoot comes in black and silver motifs too, and while the 10.2-megapixel sensor is probably a bit much for a shooter this size, we suppose Sammy's just following the trend. Aside from the pocket-friendly

design and 3x optical zoom lens, you'll also find a 2.5-inch LCD monitor, red eye correction, optical and digital image

stabilization, face detection, an SVGA movie mode and ten whole megabytes of internal storage. Should that fill up on you during your outing (we know, chances are slim), you can slam an SD / SDHC / MMC card in for additional space. Not too terribly shabby for $199.95, yeah? [Via Gadgets-Weblog] Gallery: Samsung launches 10.2megapixel L210 point-and-shoot Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Ballmer: We're Not Behind on Search; Just Waiting to Make Our Move
By Kevin Maney (Portfolio.com: Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/25/2008 10:50:27 AM

Surface to hit consumerdom in 2011, maybe sooner
By Nilay Patel (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 3:29:00 PM

Filed under: Desktops The last we heard about a consumeroriented version of Microsoft Surface, Steve Ballmer was saying that the company was trying to get it out ASAP-which is apparently three years, we've just learned. That's the word from Tom Gibbons, the MS VP in charge of Specialized Devices and Applications, who

says Microsoft can "absolutely see how" to get Surface to consumers by 2011, but that it'll try to beat that deadline if possible. Of

course, the $10,000 commercial version of Surface still hasn't been released to highprofile customers like T-Mobile and Harrah's, and although it's starting to make semi-random promo appearances here and there. Still, though, 2011? We're getting pretty sick of old-school Hungry Hungry Hippos here, people -- let's make this happen. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

In a quickie interview on 24/7 Wall Street, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer maintains that Microsoft's search situation is more like a distance runner waiting to

make his move past the leader -- i.e. Google. And he says a little -- very little -about Yahoo and Microsoft's future as provider of software that sits on PCs. Related Links The War for the Internet Ballmer's Big Play Search Mission

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An Interview with Virgin America’s head of In-Flight Entertainment
By John Biggs (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 2:23:45 PM

In honor of Linux week at CrunchGear we sat down with Charles Ogilvie, Director of In-Flight Entertainment, to talk about how this start-up airline made Tux fly. CG: Why did you pick linux for RED? CO: Linux is very stable and agile. We were able to pare down the embedded seatback side to only the libraries we need, license a container app and then write the code needed to tie everything together Which distribution are you using? Flavors of Red Hat & Fedora (we have embedded seat-back units, seat & distribution boxes and a head-end that consists of some file servers) How long was it in testing? We’ve been developing it for 4 years and it has gone through numerous iterations. Before a new version is released, it is tested on a simulation rack Did Microsoft approach you about running Windows on the back end? We’ve talked with a lot of software vendors. What was the hardest part about creating the system? Was it the software? The hardware?

The hardest part is maintaining agility. The beauty of the architecture is that we can continue to move forward, innovate and constantly look for additional areas to add new, unprecedented functionality like our inflight food ordering system or seat-to -seat chat. Why don’t more people use Linux in high traffic situations like this? I don’t know. They should. How often does it crash? The Linux machines, not the planes… Resets or reboots occur in different areas. Because we are trying different open source games, we do notice issues with porting them for example. Over time, we work through those issues. Our inflight team members (flight attendants) have the ability to reboot seats. The seat units also

monitor themselves and can reset themselves if they freeze or lose connectivity (a heart-beat) with the headend. What’s the deal with the in-flight chat? Why was that included? Have people connected through that? Seat-to-seat chat and TV-Chat are some of the most fun features we have. We’ve had everything from people striking up great conversations with other guests in chats to groups using it laugh and have fun while watching the same program. The whole idea behind it is to allow a sense of community to take place in a typically confined, airborne environment. I cannot wait for broadband and the chance for our passengers to chat with the ground What’s in store for the future besides inflight Wi-Fi? The ability to compose a music-video playlist is pretty cool and on the horizon. The READ section is also awesome in that it takes what is typically a bunch of wasted trees (excess newspapers, periodicals) and allows us to be more environmentally friendly and timely with things like news/event info/sports/entertainment etc. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Handipoints Thinks a Virtual World Could Make Kids Do Chores in the Real One
By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 5:42:41 PM

If your kid’s obsessed with Webkinz and Club Penguin but you can’t get them to do their chores, you may want to take a look at a new entrant into the virtual worlds scene called Handipoints. Founder Viva Chu started Handipoints in January 2007 with the notion that chore charts would be both more fun and more effective if they were moved online. So he created a site with two main parts: one that helped parents track how their kids helped out around the house, and another that consisted of a virtual world on par with the other pseudo-3D services kids have come to enjoy. These two parts work closely with one another to create sufficient incentives for kids to do their work. When kids successfully complete activities (such as cleaning their room, taking out the trash, or even brushing their teeth and eating an apple), they gain either of two types of points: so-called “handipoints” that can be redeemed for real-world items such as Nerf guns and toys; and “bonus points” that can be used to buy virtual goods in the online world. Parents determine which type of point, and how many of them, is rewarded for good behavior. Setting up a system for kids to redeem points for physical goods (or money) was easy enough; all they had to do was hook up Amazon’s APIs and create a custom storefront. But a significant effort has gone

into creating an entirely new and appealing virtual world, one that’s replete with different settings, activities, items, and other users. Like Webkinz, kids can walk around the virtual world and talk to each other using canned chat (where you pick statements from a list instead of typing them). This prevents inappropriate behavior. The graphics are impressive and the functionality is rather sophisticated. In addition to buying items and socializing, users can play in-world games and watch movies (these require points, too). Handipoints has raised $800k from Charles River Ventures and several angels - Keith Rabois, Georges Harik, Gady Nemirovsky, Robert Fanini, and Aydin Senkut. It’s been in beta since November 2007 and has gained 150k users so far, with 3.5 users per family on average (that breaks down into 1 parent and about 2 kids). Most of the service’s virtual goods are free, but the company plans on making money through selling premium goods to parents who want to make them available for their kids. CrunchBase Information Handipoints Webkinz Club Penguin Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Zillow's Business During a Real Estate Meltdown
By Kevin Maney (Portfolio.com: Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/25/2008 7:38:42 AM

Rich Barton, CEO of popular real estate site Zillow, passed through town yesterday and met me for coffee at my satellite office, Jamie's General Bean. Zillow has grown like crazy in the two years since it launched and now gets 5 million visitors a month. It makes its

money strictly on advertising. (Still private, it doesn't release financial figures.) So I had to ask: Now that real estate is in a crisis mode, what's that doing to Zillow? "We're growing 30% year over year," Barton said. He thinks the site is getting even more traffic now that it's a buyer's market. "People take time to research because they have the time -- it's hard to take the time to research when the market is in a buying frenzy and you have multiple

bids on a house." The site also keeps adding features and is "dipping its toe into home improvement" -perhaps showing people how a certain remodeling project would affect a home's price in a certain neighborhood. When real

estate goes sour and people stay put, they tend to remodel what they own. It will soon launch mortgage marketplace on the site. My guess, too, is that if housing prices are diving, a lot of people want to keep an eye on that. Zillow is a good way to watch what's happening to your home's value -or the prices of homes in a place you want to live. Zillow recently picked up another $30

million in financing in the fall. "I raised the last round not because we needed the money, but for a rainy day," Barton said. "A rainy day (in terms of being able to raise money) is kinda here." Related Links Prying Eyes House Poor Peter Schiff on the Housing Market and the Rescue Plan

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Motorola: The Loss of a Once-Great Company
By Kevin Maney (Portfolio.com: Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/26/2008 7:05:40 AM

Motorola is pitching its split into two companies, announced this morning, as a chance to re-focus and grow. It smells more like the death of a great American company. It certainly feels that way to the Galvins - the family that built and ran the company for most of its existence. Paul Galvin founded Motorola; his son Bob Galvin made it huge; and the grandson, Chris Galvin, was CEO from 1995 through 2003 -- when the board forced him to resign. Motorola had a spurt of growth just after Chris Galvin left -- which Galvin and a lot of others believe came from products Galvin had teed up -- and performed pretty well through 2006 under CEO Ed Zander. Since then, Moto's cell phone business has sputtered and lost market share while its stock price has gone off a cliff. Chris Galvin recently told me that his family has sold 99% of their Moto holdings -- a devastating vote of no-

confidence. "Motorola as an innovator is dead and cannot be retrieved," he said. Yes, of course, that could sound like sour grapes -- except that he might be right. An investor, Carl Icahn, has succeeded in putting short-term shareholder gain above everything, forcing Motorola into pieces that surely can't have the cultural strength or market impact of the whole.

Fourteen years ago, when Jim Collins and Jerry Porras wrote their groundbreaking book Built to Last, they included Motorola among just 18 global companies that had enduring top-shelf success. Moto was especially cited as a company that had a built-in mechanism for renewal. It periodically dipped into a difficult time, but found new businesses

and exited old ones and got going again. It could do that because it had patient management -- the family that built the company. Once that was gone, crass shareholder returns took the lead. Splitting into pieces doesn't seem like the same recipe that got Motorola onto the Built To Last list. Motorola's individual businesses might do fine. Perhaps they'll surprise everyone and bounce back. But at the moment, the split seems like a giant step back from greatness -- and maybe a step toward that place where you'll find other once-iconic names like Polaroid, Westinghouse and Sears. (A disclosure and bit of trivia: The quote on the front of most paperback copies of Built To Last, attributed to USA Today, is me.) Related Links Motorola: Maybe the Problem Isn't Zander Motorola Splits Replacement Value

Microsoft Succeeds in Making Vista Even Worse
By Kevin Maney (Portfolio.com: Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/24/2008 6:08:57 PM

Gibson and the Guitar Games Patent Suits
By Kevin Maney (Portfolio.com: Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/24/2008 6:04:31 AM

Amazing how success brings out the patent fights -- which as of now are raging full on between Gibson Guitar and the makers of guitar simulation games. It also doesn't help that the whole history of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band video games is a bit convoluted. First of all, Gibson Guitars did get a patent in 1999 for a "System and method for generating and controlling a simulated musical concert experience." And it does kind of describe what Guitar Hero and Rock Band became -- except it doesn't

really describe a video game so much as a way for a real musician to pretend he's in a rock concert. But Gibson didn't seem to worry too much about that -- until Guitar Hero turned into a $1 billion game and Rock Band hit the market as a big success. The earliest version of Guitar Hero came out in 2005. The companies behind it were Harmonix, which created the original game, and Red Octane, which gave the game a boost by creating the game-specialized guitar controllers. Eventually Red Octane got bought by Activision, which turned Guitar Hero into that $1 billion game. Red Octane was bought by MTV, which more recently developed Rock Band.

And now that the games are all the rage, Gibson is suing-- despite the fact that Gibson not only knew about the games all

along, but worked with Activision on branding and creating guitar controllers that looked like classic Gibsons. On Friday, Gibson filed suit over Rock Band. Activision has already sued Gibson back, saying the patents are invalid. What a mess. Basically, it seems Gibson wants a payday from a concept it thought up but never developed. I'm sure there's way more to the story than we'll ever know, but there must have been a better way to figure this out than going to court. Related Links The Guitar Heroes The Gamesman Rock Band Tops 6 Million Downloads

Billy Packer caught on tape MLFing!
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/25/2008 3:45:23 PM

Windows Vista is already perhaps the most frustrating product Microsoft has yet heaved onto the computing public. But now its Service Pack 1 update, which is supposed to FIX holes and squeaks in the Vista code, seems to be making things worse -- so much worse that venerable publications like Computerworld are running stories about how to get SP1 off your machine. InfoWorld has a piece about how Vista users are blasting Microsoft on Microsoft's own Vista blog. The headline on T he Washington Post's story says a lot: "Vista SP1: Threat or Menace?" For what it's worth, for Microsoft's much -ballyhooed power, its stock traded at around $25 a share five years ago today. Last I looked, it was at $29, with some relatively minor ups and downs in between. You'd have gotten just about the same performance from an electric power company, like Con Ed. Vista, the stock price -- something's clearly not going well in Redmond. Think buying Yahoo will help? (Microsoft vs. Con Ed, courtesy Yahoo) Related Links Ballmer: We're Not Behind on Search; Just Waiting to Make Our Move Parsing Eric Schmidt: Microsoft is Evil, Google is Not Eric Schmidt, Still Seeing the Devil in Microsoft

As I was watching the repeat of the Davidson vs Gonzaga NCAA game on CBS College Sports, with 37.6 seconds left

in the second half, and after coming back from a TV timeout, Billy Packer, who thought he wasn't on the air, said "Pretty Woman" while the camera was focused on Stephen Curry's mom. Not that there is anything wrong with

any of the above, but Billy Packer usually tries to play the "serious analyst" card and criticizes others who make "off topic" comments. Which explains why the CBS NCAA tourney pool of analysts includes "serious"

types, and sleepy play by play guys. Which is perhaps why Gus Johnson is often left out of the second week of games, and notable analysts like Marques Johnson of FSN are not invited.

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First “Machine Listening” API Flies From The Echo Nest
By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 1:35:10 PM

“Machine Listening” is the idea that computers can be programmed to interpret audio signals the same way humans do. This means that they can tell when a song belongs to the blues genre rather than techno. And they can detect musical characteristics like tempos, transition types, and harmonies. The technology has some obvious practical uses. It could be used to compile collections of music with the same sound or with similarities to the music someone already knows they like. Applications could also be designed to create the perfect mixtapes, with songs picked and ordered in just the right ways. The Echo Nest is a company that’s bringing machine listening to Web 2.0. It was founded by two MIT PhD students and is supported by a government grant. Today, the company releases the first of several “Musical Brain” APIs intended to improve three main aspects of musicrelated web services: search, recommendations, and interactivity.

The first API, which focuses on signature analysis and is being released through Mashery, can be used to retrieve an XML file with information about a particular song. A proof of concept website called This is my jam has been set up to demonstrate its capabilities. Load up a few of your favorite artists and it will automatically arrange songs from them in an order deemed most suitable given their audio characteristics. The Echo Nest will lend all of its APIs to non-commercial projects for free, but it will charge commercial sites with a usage fee. The company plans on showcasing a website for each of its APIs, but it doesn’t currently have any plans to create a consumer destination of its own with the tech. CrunchBase Information The Echo Nest Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

More DoGooders On The Internet: Intent To Focus On Wellness
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 10:00:04 AM

YouTube Insight: Underwhelming
By Kevin Maney (Portfolio.com: Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 7:48:48 AM

Hong Kong Billionaire Puts Another $40 Million Into Facebook
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 2:37:39 PM

What’s another $40 million to a billionaire? Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing, chairman of telecom giant Hutchison Whampoa, revealed during a conference call that he has raised his stake in Facebook by another $40 million or more. This is on top of the$60 million he previously invested. That brings his total personal investment in the U.S. social networking site to at least $100 million. No word on whether Facebook’s $15 billion valuation has changed from when Ka-shing first joined

Microsoft in putting money into the company. We’re guessing not. CrunchBase Information Facebook Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Google's YouTube announced a tool, called YouTube Insight, but it doesn't seem all that great. The company says it can "give a lot of context around the performance of video over time, where are your audience coming from, and how your message is connecting to your audience." It's gotten a ton of coverage from the media. But while the information you get is interesting, it's so broad that it strikes me as underwhelming. I tried it out on the most popular video I ever uploaded -popular, I should add, for reasons that are unfathomable to me. Its title is"Loudest Car at CES," and I posted it from the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2007. It has since had 46,833 views. The Insight tool shows me that it first broke 100 views a day on May 19, 2007 -five months after the video was posted. I can follow a timeline and see that it passed

300 views a day on October 26, and even now gets nearly 200 views a day. I can also see that almost every viewer comes from the U.S. I can see some other geographic oddities -- like, on Oct. 30, it was a very popular video in Namibia! (Like...huh??) But that's about it. That's all I get from Insight. No idea why this video got popular when it did or where. I suppose a band might be able to find out that its music videos are extremely popular in some farflung nation, and could make decisions to market or tour there. I'm sure there are other ways this is useful to marketers and potential YouTube advertisers. But hopefully YouTube will eventually give us more refined ways to slice and dice this stuff. (YouTube Insight map) Related Links I Don't Want My Web TV Watching for the Next YouTube Internet Video Growth: It's All YouTube -ish

A few weeks ago I had the chance to check out an upcoming Los Angeles-based startup called Intent, which should launch publicly this summer. And while Intent is a for profit startup, the founders say their goal, like Causes, is to help people along the road to making money. The intent founders, which include Deepak Chopra’s daughter Mallika Chopra as well as Sarah Ross and Sal Taylor Kydd, will aim to fill a niche between lifestyle sites and medical properties - a destination for wellness content, a syndication platform, and a branded hub for people seeking to share their intentions (personal, social, spiritual and environmental). The site will include original content from wellness category luminaries, medical professionals, media personalities, and pop culture icons. They aren’t willing to disclose much more for now. The company has raised under “ less than $1 million” in an angel round of financing that included Richard Wolpert and other unnamed investors. The Intent blog is here. CrunchBase Information Intent Mallika Chopra Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

MLB Extra Innings free preview on Comcast!
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:47:41 AM

Comcast (and maybe other cable companies too) will be having a week long free preview of its baseball pay per view

package MLB Extra Innings. The preview will start on March 31st, and end on April 6. The free preview includes all the available channels, up to 10 games running in parallel, depending of course on what games are scheduled each night.

You do usually need to have access to digital cable, as the cable companies are moving from analog to digital, for various reasons. But that's a story for a different blog :)

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March Madness On The New York Post Got It Wrong—Microsoft’s Alternate Board Demand breaks traffic records! Slate For Yahoo Is All Sewn Up By ncaahoops
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 2:41:37 PM Submitted at 3/26/2008 10:16:57 PM

Dash GPS/Wi-Fi Gadget Lives Up to Billing
By Kevin Maney (Portfolio.com: Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 6:33:47 AM

I've been following and writing about Dash Navigation since early in its inception, and much of the tech world has been anxious to see it go live. Finally, it's here -- and reviews say it's the in-car GPS unit to beat. But always, the thing about Dash is that if it catches on and gets critical mass -certainly not a guarantee -- it could bring about a dramatic shift in how people think about getting around by car. Dash aggregates input from all of the Dash units out there -- gathering anonymous info about exactly where each Dash car is and how fast it's moving -- and feeds it back to Dash users. If thousands of cars are driving around with Dash units in a given city, Dash owners will get pretty decent up-tothe-second information about how traffic is moving on roads they're heading towards or intend to take. It could be a classic case of information

shedding light on something that was previously opaque. People mostly guess what traffic will be like using models they've built in their heads about what it's usually like at certain times of day. Dash promises to stop the guessing -- we can know what traffic is like RIGHT NOW on the roads ahead. Interestingly, while states struggle to fund roads to relieve congestion and cities like London come up with schemes to reduce peak traffic -- Dash might be one of the best solutions of all to congestion. If everyone had Dash, drivers would make better decisions about routes and could disperse traffic more evenly around highways and cities. Dash is probably, in fact, the cheapest way to do that. Related Links Survey Confirms iPhone Users are HardCore Internet Junkies Code Black: Portable Email Network Crashes Again How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong

This morning, the New York Post ran a story with this headline: M’SOFT NOT YET ON BOARD NO NAMES LINED UP YET FOR YAHOO! The article goes on to suggest that nobody in Silicon Valley wants to be on Microsoft’s alternate board for Yahoo for fear of “alienating both Yahoo! insiders and others who are aligned with the search giant.” This was news to us since we started gathering names of people who might be on that alternate board two weeks ago. The sad truth is that nobody is afraid of Jerry Yang or any other Yahoo insiders (what’s left of them). While the Post may have uncovered some individuals who may have been considered for the alternate board and declined, that is not the same as evidence “that the software giant actually doesn’t have anyone lined up.” Because, in fact, Microsoft does have an alternate board lined up and the people chosen for it have agreed to serve if called upon to do so. We have confirmed this with a member of the alternate board.

So why hasn’t Microsoft released its proposed slate? It is not because it cannot find anyone to serve on it. More likely, the reason that Microsoft has gone dark is because it is deep in negotiations with Yahoo to close the deal. The expectation for a revised bid of $34 a share or more is well-founded. If a deal is imminent, there is no point in doing something hostile like propose a new slate of directors. The absence of a slate actually means the chances of the deal going through are high. If Microsoft does decide to reveal the slate in the next few days, then you’ll know the negotiations aren’t going well. Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

We already mentioned the Compete story, but now we have more hard numbers on March Madness OnDemand, courtesy of PaidContent.org. The numbers went through the roof compared to last year, with a total of 3.7 million hours watched! All the numbers across the board went up up and away. Also of interest in that story, ESPN and CBS Sports had about the same number of entries in their online bracket competitions! But remember, every time you fill in a bracket, Coach K eats a kitten for breakfast ;-)

The Zoho Business Machine Rolls Forward: Invoices Next
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 8:10:56 PM

Zoho continues to launch a new product every month or two. Next up is a way for businesses to send electronic invoices. It will join a suite of sixteen other businessfocused applications, including a full “Office” suite (online clones for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.), in the next few weeks. Most of their applications are free or significantly less expensive than competitors. Other applications include web conferencing, and most recently a portal to

manage human resources—recruiting, org charts, HR forms, etc. This is certainly not the first online invoicing tool. But the value in Zoho is, increasingly, the fact that they have so many services under the same brand/sign on. The invoices product will be free for

users who send up to five invoices per month. Paid packages range up to $35/month. A quick way to understand which Zoho applications are free and which have a fee the productivity applications listed on the left hand column are free, the business applications on the right will have a fee. CrunchBase Information Zoho Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

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Stealth Startup Glassdoor.com Takes $3 Million Series B
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 5:25:14 PM

Glassdoor.com has taken $3 million Series B in a round led by Benchmark Capital. Not a lot is known about the Sausalito, CA based company. CEO and Founder Robert Hohman was previously the President of Hotwire.com, and the team includes Richard Barton, CEO of Zillow and Tim Besse, previously in senior management at Expedia. PEHub suggests the company is a “social networking company focused on employment conditions in the workplace,” where as Rent Bits suggests that it may be Real Estate related.

The company is still very much in stealth mode and gives no hints on their site aside from saying that “except that we think it’s pretty unique and going to be a lot of fun to build.” The company may already be struggling with bringing the mystery product to market, with their site saying that they “expect to have something live in early 2008,” yet are still displaying a holding page. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

TechCrunch DeadPooled My Company And All I Got Was This Lousy iPod Shuffle
By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 6:54:55 PM

CBS Testing HD Streaming
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 5:08:43 PM

2008 McDonalds AllAmerican All-Star game tonight on ESPN!
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/26/2008 3:22:04 PM

CBS released a high definition player today in the labs area of their site, along with a few clips. They are currently streaming (not progressive download) in H.264/AVC format at 480p, with 720p and 1080p coming soon, they say. Hulu and others are also beginning to test high definition streaming. Some shows on Hulu, for example, are optionally available in 480p format. They also have a few clips available in 720p. Update: We’ve had a chance to speak with Eric Feng, the CTO of Hulu, about how this CBS announcement compares to the video quality provided by Hulu. Hulu currently provides three levels of quality: 360p, 480p, and 720p. The first two levels are streamed whereas the third is progressively downloaded. Since CBS has yet to stream anything above 480p,

these new tests are nothing extraordinary…yet. However, even if CBS begins to stream 720p or higher, consumers might not see much benefit. According to Feng, the median broadband download rate in the US is 1.9mb/sec and high definition video (ordinarily considered 720p or higher on the web) consumes 2.5mb/sec. So if CBS tries streaming 720p, they’d probably run into lots of buffering issues. We should note that 480p and 720p are not available for all videos on Hulu. Only a certain selection of movies are available in 480p and only very few samples are available in 720p. Hulu doesn’t currently plan to deploy 1080p because it takes up too much bandwidth and processing power. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Yes, the 2007-2008 season is not over yet, but you can already start planning for the 2008-2009 with the McDonalds AllStar Game, previewed at our sister blog, Recruiting Wars. Another controversial group of two dozens players was selected for this game, and with the NBA Draft out of the question, we only have a couple of uncommitted players, the most notable being Tyreke Evans who seems to be enjoying the spotlight and the attention this generates. The Grassroots Ballin blog states that Tyreke Evans will announce his decision on April 16, 2008. He is down to four schools, check Grassroots Ballin to find out which four! The game tips off at 630pm pacific(930pm eastern) on ESPN and ESPN-HD. But there is an NBA game

before that, so if the NBA game runs late, it may eat up some of the ...McDonalds ;-) But that's not the only all-star game of the season! The Jordan Brand Classic, is taking place on April 19 at the storied MSG. This time it will be shown live on ESPN2, no longer hidden in the secret world of ESPNU, a channel no one is able to watch because ESPN and Comcast are too stubborn to reach a reasonable compromise. Preaching aside, there's also the Nike Hoop Summit, this time moving to Portland, Oregon, after being "glued" to the Calipari-FedEx arena in Memphis, TN. This one will be shown on FSN and Fox College Sports, tipping at 1pm pacifc on April 12, 2008. And in case you were wondering why we haven't mentioned the Roundball classic, it looks like it has been cancelled or frozen. It looks like there won't be a 44th Roundball Classic this year :-(

Who says nothing good comes from getting deadpooled? Blake Machado was the winner of a YouTube announcement contest we held a couple weeks back. He was the first to guess correctly that YouTube would come out with some new APIs to spread its influence over the web. The prize was an iPod shuffle. Turns out YouTube’s announcement was particularly poignant for Blake given his connection to the previous deadpooled Stage6. As he revealed to us after winning: Ironically guessing/winning this is bittersweet. I was the PM of Stage6 and this is an area where we had planned to beat YouTube to the punch and gain some, hopefully, extremely positive results. We would have as it was scheduled for Feb. release — oh well. So how’d we comfort him in his time of need? Etched a reminder of that deadpooling into his “consolation” prize, of course. You’re welcome, Blake. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

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2008 March Madness TV Listings
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/26/2008 7:30:46 AM

If you enjoyed our regular season TV listings, and our 2007 March Madness TV listings, you will be thrilled by our 2008 March Madness TV listings! 2008 NCAA Tournament TV listings The National NCAA tourney TV listings were just published (March 17) at CBS Sports. The tourney games will be on CBS, CBS-HD, and CSTV (now CBS College Sports). The play-in (cough cough opening round game) tips off on Tuesday night on ESPN and ESPN-HD, and squares off Mount Saint Mary's with Coppin State, the team with the 20 losses. The CBS studio hosts will be the same as before (Seth Davis, Bryan Gumbel and Clark Kellogg), and the eight announcer teams are the usual faces, but with one addition. Youngster Carter Blackburn of CSTV will be "trained" by Dick Enberg (old enough to be his great grandpa) and Jay Bilas (tall enough to be his grandpa). Action begins on Thursday at 9am pacific (noon eastern), and CBS decided to start things off with an intriguing game, Xavier facing off the Georgia Bulldogs, aka the Georgia Miracles! You can also watch games live or repeats on your computer for FREE at NCAA.com. This is what they call March Madness On-Demand. They also have a "video library" of previous games and events. Or so they claim ;-) The 2008 NIT TV listings The TV listings are embedded in the brackets at the NIT website(embedded PDF file). Direct link to the PDF file right here(PDF file). Every single NIT game (31 total) will be carried by the ESPN family of networks, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN Classic. For more details on the NIT tourney, check the NIT website. The inaugural CBI TV listings The games are available online and at Fox College Sports. Details here. Action tips off on Tuesday March 18, 2008 with two games, and continues on Wednesday with two more games. We are not sure which games will be available on local channels or regional FSNs. Detailed daily TV listings(ALL TIMES PACIFIC)

Monday March 17, 2008 6pm, Black Magic Part #2, ESPN (commercial free; will re-air on ESPN Classic later on) 730pm, College Gamenight, ESPN2 9pm: ESPNU Inside the Polls, ESPN2 Midnight: CLASSIC, 1993 Arizona vs Kentucky, in the Maui, ESPN Classic various time: Debut of College Sports Tonight on CSTV (CBS-CS). This is a daily one-hour show that recaps the world of college sports. Think of it as SportsCenter for college sports but not by ESPN. Tuesday March 18, 2008 11am, 1987 NCAA Final: Syracuse vs Indiana, ESPN Classic 12pm, repeat: P10 tourney: Arizona vs Oregon State, Fox College Sports 1pm, 1998 NCAA Final: Texas vs Oklahoma, ESPN Classic 130pm, repeat: 2008 SEC tourney final, Georgia vs Arkansas, the miracle, CSTV (aka CBS College Sports) 4pm, NIT game: UNC Asheville at Ohio State, ESPN2 (7'7" giant Kenny George visits Value City arena) 4pm, 11pm, CBI game: Richmond at Virginia, Fox College Sports 430pm, NCAA Opening Round: Mount St Mary's vs Coppin State, ESPN 6pm, NIT game: Oklahoma State at Southern Illinois, ESPN2 6pm, NIT game: Akron at Florida State, ESPN Classic 6pm, 1am, CBI game: Houston at Nevada, Fox College Sports 630pm, NIT game: Minnesota at Maryland, ESPN 630pm, 1130pm, NAIA D2 tourney final, CSTV (CBSCS) 8pm, NIT game: Alabama State at Arizona State, ESPN2 Wedn March 19, 2008 Pregame press conferences on ESPN News throughout the day! midnight: Classic: 1987 TipOff classic: UNC vs Syracuse, ESPN Classic 10am: CLASSIC 1966 NCAA Final: Texas Western vs Kentucky, ESPN Classic 11am: CLASSIC 1989 NCAA Final: Seton Hall vs Michigan, ESPN Classic 1pm: CLASSIC 1990 NCAA final: UNLV vs Duke, ESPN Classic 1pm: March Madness Central (3 hours), CSTV (CBS CS) 4pm: NIT UAB at VCU, ESPN2

4pm: NIT Morgan State at Virginia Tech, ESPN Classic 4pm: CBI Cincinnati at Bradley, Fox College Sports 6pm: CBI Valpo at Washington, Fox College Sports 6pm: NIT Charlotte at Nebraska, ESPN Classic 6pm: NIT San Diego State at Florida, ESPN2 8pm: NIT New Mexico at California, ESPN2 Thur March 20, 2008 *** check local CBS station for listings in your area *** *** all times pacific *** 7am to 9am: SportsCenterU, ESPN 9am to 2pm: NCAA Tournament begins!, CBS, National schedule 9am to 145pm: March Madness Central on CSTV (CBS CS) 11am to 1pm: Tourney Gameday, ESPN2 145pm, 1am: NCAA tourney from Anaheim: Cornell vs Stanford, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 4pm to 10pm: NCAA Tournament afternoon session, CBS 4pm to 10pm: March Madness Central on CSTV (CBS CS) All night: March Madness Highlights (one hour long), CSTV (CBS CS) 9pm: NIT Second round: Southern Illinois at Arizona State, ESPN2 (first one to 39 wins!) Fri March 21, 2008 *** check local CBS station for listings in your area *** 7am to 9am: SportsCenterU, ESPN 9am to 2pm: NCAA Tournament Round 1 Day 2!, CBS, National schedule 9am: NCAA Tourney, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 11am to 230pm: College Gameday, ESPN 2pm, 1am: NCAA tourney from Anaheim, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 4pm to 10pm: NCAA Tournament afternoon session, CBS 1am: NCAA tourney repeat, CSTV Sat March 22, 2008 *** check local CBS for your area *** *** all times pacific *** 9am: NIT round 2: Akron at UMass 10am: Road to the Final Four, CBS 11am: NCAA Round 2 Day 1, four games [1-2-2-3], CBS, National schedule.

11am: WEST VIRGINIA vs Duke, CBS 120pm: Kansas State vs Wisconsin or Xavier vs Purdue, CBS 340pm or so: Notre Dame vs Washington State, or Marquette vs Stanford or UNLV vs Kansas, CBS 6pm or so: Pitt vs Michigan State or Texas A&M vs UCLA, CBS 9pm: Gameday on ESPN (1 hour long) Sun March 23, 2008 *** check local CBS for your area *** *** all times pacific *** 6am: Game of the week repeat: NIT, Rhode Island at Creighton, ESPN Classic 630am, Outside the Lines: Pat Summitt vs Geno Auriemma, The Drama, ESPN. Video preview. 9am, NCAA Round 2 Day 2, three games, CBS, [1-4-3], National schedule. 910am: Siena vs Villanova 1120am or so: Miami vs Texas or Bulter vs Tennessee or Davidson vs Georgetown or Western Kentucky vs San Diego 130pm or so: Miss State vs Memphis, or Oklahoma vs Louisville or Arkansas vs North Carolina 9pm: Gameday on ESPN (1 hour long) All Nite: March Madness Highlights, CSTV (CBS CS) Mon March 24, 2008 *** good news, NCAA games repeating on CSTV! *** 9am: Three NCAA game tourney repeats, CSTV (CBS College Sports). That's right, if you missed any games or your local CBS kept switching out, you can watch them in a full two-hour edit window! 9am: full-game repeat: BELMONT vs Duke, CSTV (CBS CS) 11am: full-game repeat: UConn vs San Diego, CSTV 1pm: full-game repeat: Drake vs Western Kentucky, CSTV 11am: Two Classic NCAA Tournament Finals on ESPN Classic 11am: 1991 NCAA Final Duke vs UNLV Kansas, ESPN Classic 1pm: 1993 NCAA Final Michigan vs North Carolina, ESPN Timeout Classic 4pm: NIT game, ESPN 4pm: CBI game: ODU at Virginia, Fox College Sports, CBI schedule 6pm: NIT game, ESPN 6pm: CBI game: Utah at Tulsa, Fox College Sports 920pm: College Gameday, ESPN (20

minutes) 1am: full game repeat, not sure which one, CSTV Tue March 25, 2008 9am: three full NCAA Tourney game repeats: UConn vs San Diego, Drake vs Western Kentucky (2.5 hours long), and Davidson vs Gonzaga, CSTV 11am: Two Classic NCAA Tournament Finals, 1994 Arkansas vs Duke, and 1995 UCLA vs Arkanas, on ESPN Classic 230pm: March Madness College Coaches, FSN 4pm: NIT game, ESPN2 6pm: NIT game, ESPN2 Wedn March 26, 2008 8am: Three repeats of full NCAA games: Davidson vs Gonzaga, Butler vs Tennessee, and Xavier vs Purdue, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 1020am: Gameday repeat (20 minutes), ESPN 2pm: March Madness Central (2 hours long), CSTV (CBS College Sports) 4pm: CBI semifinal #1, Fox College Sports 4pm: NIT Quarterfinal, ESPN 5pm: NCAA repeat: Texas A&M vs UCLA slugfest, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 6pm: CBI semifinal #2, Fox College Sports 6pm: NIT Quarterfinal, ESPN 630pm, 2008 McDonalds All American Game, ESPN. Preview at Recruiting Wars. 8pm: NCAA repeat: Xavier vs Purdue, CSTV 11pm: NCAA repeat: Butler vs Tennessee, CSTV Thur March 27, 2008 8am: NCAA repeats: Butler vs Tennessee, Xavier vs Purdue, Stanford vs Marquette, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 2pm: March Madness Central (1 hour), CSTV 3pm: NCAA Division 2 tourney, semifinals (two games), CSTV 4pm: NCAA Tourney, Sweet 16 Day 1, CBS National sked. 4pm: Washington State vs North Carolina or, West Virginia vs Xavier (around) 630pm: Louisville vs Tennessee, or, Western Kentucky vs UCLA 10pm: College Gameday, ESPN 1130pm: NCAA repeat: Stanford vs 2008 page 19

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Sweet 16 Preview and Predictions, Day 1
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/26/2008 4:33:00 PM

2008 page 18 continued from
Marquette, CSTV Fri March 28, 2008 8am: NCAA repeats: UCLA vs Texas A&M, Memphis vs Mississippi State, Davidson vs Georgetown, CSTV 10am: College Gameday, ESPN 2pm: March Madness Central (2 hours), CSTV 4pm: March Madness Central (5.5 hours), CSTV 4pm: NCAA Tourney, Sweet 16 Day 2, CBS National sked. 4pm: Stanford vs Texas, or, Davidson vs Wisconsin (around 630pm: Villanova vs Kansas, or, Memphis vs Michigan State 10pm: College Gameday, ESPN 1130pm: NCAA repeat: Davidson vs Georgetown, CSTV Sat March 29, 2008 *** all times pacific *** *** Elite 8, Day 1, CBS (two games) *** 1130am: March Madness Central (30 minutes), CSTV 1130am: Division 2 final, CBS 2pm: Road to the Final Four (90 minutes), CBS 330pm: NCAA Tourney Elite 8 Game #1: TBD, CBS around 6pm: NCAA Tourney Elite 8 Game #2: TBD, CBS 430pm: March Madness Central (3.5 hours), CSTV 9pm: College Gameday, ESPN Sun March 30, 2008 *** all times pacific *** *** Elite 8, Day 2, CBS (two games) *** 10am: License to Thrive, Title 9 at 35, ESPN2 11am: March Madness Central (5 hours), CSTV 11am: NCAA Tourney Elite 8 Game #1 around 130pm: NCAA Tourney Elite 8 Game #2 930pm: College Gameday, ESPN Mon March 31, 2008 8am: NCAA repeats: Davidson vs Georgetown, and more, CSTV Tue April 1, 2008 4pm: NIT semifinal #1, ESPN2 630pm: NIT Semifinal #2, ESPN2 Thur April 3, 2008 4pm: NIT final, ESPN 6pm, repeats at midnight: College Basketball Skillz (2 hours), ESPN More coming later on *** all times in this post are PACIFIC, unless otherwise indicated ***

You can get a two hour preview of the NCAA Tourney games on CSTV, today at 2pm pacific (5pm eastern), but you can also get a preview right here. For all the TV stuff, be sure to check our March Madness TV listings. West Virginia vs Xavier The first wave of games tips off with a good old rivarly, Bob Huggins vs Xavier. As you may recall, Huggins was the head coach at Cincy, and they had an annual intense rivarly game every year. We now love West Virginia even more, after they beat up the Dookies, and we are planning a blogging celebration for them later today :) And because of that we want West Virgina to win and move along. But Xavier, just like Texas, is one of those crazy teams that can beat anyone and can lose to almost anyone. They already showed early tournament onions by making comebacks against Georgia and Purdue. But ultimately we think the combination of outside shooting, Joe Alexander, and Bob Huggins toughness will get the Threepointers over the top and send the Musketeers home. And the X-men will have to worry some more, as their head coach may be poached by one of the BCS schools. Indiana is not the only major program looking for a head coach, and the impressive success of Herb Sendek at Arizona State may tempt other Pac-10 schools to go after one of his former assistants. We are talking potentially Oregon, California or USC. But let's leave that for the coaching carousel discussion :) North Carolina vs Washington State In the other game, North Carolina will face Washington State. This is the ultimate contrast in style, although the young singer is not a ...dick like his dad, he lets his team run when they have the advantage. We've said all along that Washington State, just like Wisconsin, are operating in a narrow band. They usually beat the teams they are

supposed to beat, and lose to the teams they are supposed to lose to. If you don't think so, be sure to check Washington State's record, courtesy of Ken Pom RPI. They are 0-5 against Sweet 16 teams (UCLA, Stanford), but they beat up NCAA teams that lost in the first week (Baylor, Zags, USC, Oregon). Arizona is an exception because when they had their full complement they were playing like a Sweet 16 team. But injuries and such derailed them. But that's a story for another day. Ultimately we think that UNC will overmatch Wazoo. Derrick Low may give them some headaches, as neither Lawson or Q are ideally suited to guard him. Kyle Weaver on the other hand will have his hands full having to deal with Ellington on defense and Ginyard and Green on offense. Hansbrough will probably be limited by the Wazoo interior play and defensive scheme, but the combination of Lawson and Green/Ellington, and possibly Deon Thompson's bank shots will be the difference. Louisville vs Tennessee This is a game we have a hard time getting a read on. Both teams are deep, both press and run and gun. We would have preferred that this was a Final Four game instead of a Sweet 16 game. But let's consider Tennessee's history in the NCAA tourney in the Bruce Pearl era and Pitino's history. That does not look favorable for Tennessee, but one could have easily made the same argument for Texas A&M vs Louisville last year at Rupp Arena, and Billy Clyde Gillispie pulled out a tough win at his future home court beating Pitino on his former home court. Or to use Pitino-speak, his former home cot :) But there's something else that goes against Tennessee: Consider how they did not only in past NCAA tourneys under Bruce Pearl, but also in other tourneys. This year they got blown out by Texas in a pre-season tourney in New Jersey. Last

year they lost to Butler in the pre-season NIT. They haven't done well in the SEC tourney either. Obviously the three point shot can be a determining factor and if there is a big difference in the shots made, we think that the team with that advantage will probably win the game. Other than Lofton - if he is having a wild shooting game - we don't see any potential matchup advantages for the Vols. Ultimately we think that Padgett and TWill will be able to make up for the potential shortcomings of the Cardinals guards crumbling under the Vols pressure, and Derrick Caracter and Earl Clark will be too much for the Vols big men to handle. Louisville will win, we predict, but it could be a very close game. Western Kentucky vs UCLA We badly want Western Kentucky to win, but we are afraid that UCLA will be too much. Duke West has been getting a series of "friendly" calls by the zebras, not just the highly visible controversial calls, but also the multiple fouls per possession the UCLA wrestling-forwards commit on screens on offense and double teams on defense. We have enough material now to convict Ben Howland of ruining the game of basketball. You have two of the fastest guards in the country in Collison and Westbrook, and the most smartest (LOL) big man in Kevin Love, and yet you try to win the games in a slugfest, the same way a desperate low-major coach of a 300+ RRI team is clinging on to dear life. For crimes against basketball, Ben Howland, you have been convicted to lose in the Elite 8, and never make it to the Final Four again :) Friday's Games We will be posting our preview and predictions for the four day two games later today! Update! The time is Later! Here is the preview and predictions for day two of the Sweet 16 (Friday).

Outside the Lines: Tyler Smith and Duke's Blues
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:06:37 AM

Today's Outside the Lines, on ESPN2 (330pm eastern) has a distinct College Basketball flavor. First up, Duke's Blues as Coach K gets his second early exit from the NCAA tourney! Thank you VCu, thank you Belmont, thank you West Virginia and Bob Thuggins! Outside the Lines reexamines the Duke/North Carolina rivalry with Raleigh Radio Host, Bomani Jones. Some love for Coach K As we mentioned a few years ago, in October 2005, at our sister blog, Recruiting Wars, that the return of Roy Williams at UNC would significantly alter the dynamics of the rivarly. Don't look now if you are a Duke fan, but look now if you are not! A national championship, an elite

8, a current run in the sweet 16, an amazing job on the year after the championship when he didn't have the usual Kansas/UNC talent, and such. More on that in January 2006. What has Coach Ratface K done? He stockpiles Mcdonalds All-Americans, plays only half of them, and wastes the life and potential of almost all of them. Look at where DeMarcus Nelson's career has gone! He was a scoring machine that could have been a whole lot more in college had he played elsewhere. At Duke, just like most players, their life force is drained by the Ratface K, and their game just evaporates into floor slaps. The second feature, the centerpiece, is the story of Tennessee's Tyler Smith, told by Tom Friend.

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NCAA Tourney Sweet 16 Preview and Predictions, Day 2
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/26/2008 4:31:29 PM

Ben Braun officially fired by California Berkeley
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/26/2008 5:01:59 PM

If you already read our Sweet 16 Day One preview, then you are ready for Day Two! Day 2 games will be played on Friday. Be sure to check our March Madness TV Listings for airtimes. All times pacific, unless otherwise indicated! Davidson vs Wisconsin Wisconsin, just like Washington State, are teams that have a more performance narrow band. They usually beat the teams they are supposed to beat, and lose to the teams they are supposed to. This is good news for Badger fans, unless of course Davidson is indeed playing like an Elite 8 team :) I would prefer to see the Cinderella story continue, Davidson and Stephen Curry to make some noise and get to the Elite 8, and Bob McKillop to finally get the massmarket respect he deserves. But I'm afraid that Wisconsin is not going to be "surprised" by the Wildcats the same way the Zags and the Hoyas were. Bo Ryan has the depth and the talent to win this game, one way or the other. Stanford vs Texas Oh boy, this is a tough one to get a read on. Texas, like Xavier, are crazy teams. They can beat anyone, and they can lose to anyone. The Stanford guards are really going to have their hands full with DJ Augustin and AJ Abrams, and there's only one Greg Washington on the roster. The good news for Stanford fans is that they were already able to beat a guardloaded team in Marquette, and that was with the drama of Trent Johnson getting prematurely ejected from the game. But unlike the Marquette guards, the Texas guards can shoot from Austin and make the bucket in Houston. And that's where the game is going to be played. Home co(ur)t advantage goes to Texas for sure.

Texas has enough big bodies to bother the Lopez twins on offense and defense, and the struggling Lawrence Hill is going to be tested going up against former Kelvin Sampson signee (the list is getting longer and longar) Damion James. On the other hand, the Lopez twins are going to clog up the paint on defense, and create havoc in the paint on offense. Can Stanford limit the three-point makes of Texas? Can they stop the wild runs and fast-breaks? If yes, they have a chance to win the game. Our prediction? Texas wins in a dramatic game. Michigan State vs Memphis State Well, well, well, the pundits are picking Izzo State, just like they were picking Pitt to steamroll Izzo State. We didn't, we saw that Izzo would be able to short-circuit the Panthers, and all the pundits (Bob Knight included) were blinded by the fact that MSG is Pitt's second home court as half of their roster is from the NYC/NJ area. We predicted Michigan State would beat Pitt. And using the same reasoning, we see that Izzo State is really overmatched in just about every position, and unless Memphis has a total collapse on the free throw and the three point line, Memphis will get an easy win over Michigan State. The development of Kalin Lucas was slowed down because coaches are "loyal" to their older players, in this case, Lucas is the one who should be running the show, not Neitzer and not Walton. But that's another story. Calipari has a lot of options to try to slow down Kalin Lucas, from tiny Andre Allen, to tall Antonio Anderson, along with Willie Kemp and Derrick Rose. Neitzel is an easy cover for most of the Memphis perimeter players. Raymar Morgan could create some problems but Calipari has options, from Dozier to Anderson to handle him. Michigan State's size inside is not a threat since none of those guys are likely to beat a team or force double-teams. Heck, we

may even see Pierre Niles or Hashim Bailey if Izzo goes big and tall ;-) Villanova vs Kansas Can you smell it? Can you smell it? We can smell it! No, it's not last week's dinner, it's the upset in the making! It's all about the guards, and Nova has a boatload of them. Guards and three pointers! That will be the undoing of Kansas, and a very disappointing loss for the Bill Self Jayhawks. They showed this year against UNLV that they can grind better than last year (see Southern Illinois and Kansas NCAA tourney games), but as we saw in the Arizona game, talented guards can give them headaches. And Nova has plenty! Now how can Villanova make up for the difference in talent inside the paint? With Casseim Drummond out for the season, the "shorties" will have to deal with "Shady", "Chaka Khan", and "Not Elton Brand Jackson", along with "Paul Bunyan". If the Nova Shorties can do enough to minimize the impact of the three big bigs, and contain Shady, and the guards, then we have an upset special! Does this defy logic? Yes it does! But then again, this is the NCAA tournament. And let's not forget, how many of the NBA playoff results would have been the same if the NBA Playoffs were single elimination games? Even some of the best NBA teams of all time had their bad games and even got blown out on occasion. And with the NBA we are talking about seasoned professionals, not college kids. Obviously Kansas would win a best of seven series, but in a single game setting, if the Nova guards are on fire, and the pressure weighs on Kansas, and the memories of the two first round exits and Elite 8 appearances cloud their minds, it will be upset city!.

As we predicted a few days ago, CalBerkeley head basketball coach Ben Braun was fired after 12 (not 15) seasons as the Chief Bear. Story at Sports Illustrated. More on this story at regional website SfGate.com. And also at the university newspaper, the Daily Californian. So our first of two predictions came true. Which one was our second prediction? Randy Bennett riding his second wave of NCAA Tournament selection success a few miles down the road to take over CalBerkeley. One of the pluses of Randy Bennett is that he looks a bit like Herb Sendek, and if Sendek was able to reboot ASU in just two years... Ironically this is the second coach Herb Sendek unintentionally managed to get fired. If it wasn't for Sendek's success in

Year Two at ASU, the other coaches (Jay John, Ben Braun) could have gotten more out of the usual excuses (tough conference, not easy to do it, east coast bias, etc). But if Sendek turned ASU into a promising and rising program, what exactly has Ben Braun being doing in Berkeley? But in our opinion the firing offense was poor recruiting decisions. How can you have a team loaded with big men, and yet fail to get enough guards around them? And why was Jordan Wilkes not even given a chance to play through the season when the team was struggling? And the "Omar Wilkes bolted out a year earlier" excuse does not hold water. Wilkes was a wing. The team badly needed a point guard. Both Knezevic and mini-me Randle are backup guards at best. Christopher is a nice Pac-10 caliber player but he is more of a wing-guard.

Idol Polls: The Top 10
By Jason Hughes (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 8:41:00 AM

Filed under: American Idol, Contestants, Alumni, Predictions and Trends, News and Gossip Welcome back to our weekly American Idol polls round-up. Each week we look at various online polls that were conducted from the end of last week's results up to the performance show Tuesday. And then a few that were conducted after the performance show, but before the results were revealed. This way we can analyze how the week's performances affected a contestant's overall popularity, and how well the internet can predict eliminations. We'll also see how each contestant fared week to week in each poll, moving up or down. And we can see how the polls compare to one another. Is one source generally more

on-track, are there any that seem to be way off, and how different are they from one another. Can any of them be trusted? Everybody loves polls, right? %Gallery-18627% Continue reading Idol Polls: The Top 10 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Elisha Cuthbert cast on CBS romantic comedy
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 10:25:00 AM

Filed under: 24, Casting Jack Bauer's

daughter is trading in angst for romance. Actress Elisha Cuthbert has been cast on the CBS pilot Ny-Lon. That's the one-hour romantic-drama-with-comedy based on the

British series of the same name that aired on the Channel 4 TV in 2004 (only there it was called NY-LON; apparently the American version is initial cap only).

Continue reading Elisha Cuthbert cast on CBS romantic comedy Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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TV Obits: Widmark, Mann, Wilde, Battley
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:21:00 AM

What's On Tonight: March Madness, Smallville, Eli Stone
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:00:00 AM

Filed under: Celebrities, Obituaries A roundup of TV people from in front of the camera and behind the scenes who have passed away. • Richard Widmark: He was best known to TV viewers as the star of the NBC detective series Madigan in the 1970s. It was a spinoff of a movie of the same name. He also appeared in the miniseries Benjamin Franklin and in several TV movies, including Cold Sassy Tree , A Gathering of Old Men , Brock's Last Case , and Vanished , and also made a guest appearance as himself in one of the classic I Love Lucy episodes set in Hollywood. He made his debut on the big screen in the film noir classic Kiss of Death and went on to star in dozens of other films, including Night and the City , No Way Out , Don't Bother To Knock , Warlock , The Alamo , The Bedford Incident

, Broken Lance , Murder on the Orient Express , Twilight's Last Gleaming , Coma , Against All Odds , and many more. He got an Oscar nomination for his role in Kiss of Death .He died in Connecticut at age 93 after a long illness. Continue reading TV Obits: Widmark, Mann, Wilde, Battley Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Programming, What To Watch Tonight • CBS has March Madness all night. • At 8, ABC has two new episodes of Miss Guided . • NBC has a new Deal Or No Deal at 8, followed by the finale of Celebrity Apprentice . • FOX has a new Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? at 8, then a new Don't Forget The Lyrics . • The CW has new episodes of Smallville and Reaper . • AMC has Letters From Iwo Jima at 8. • At 9, HGTV has a new Divine Design

Smallville: Veritas
By Brad Trechak (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 4:00:00 PM

. • At 9:30, HBO has a new In Treatment . • At 10, ABC has a new Eli Stone . • Spike has a new TNA Impact at 10. • At 10:30, Food Network has a new Ace of Cakes . • Also at 10:30: Comedy Central has a new Lil' Bush . Check your local TV listings for more. Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: OpEd, Smallville, Episode Reviews (S07E15) This episode could have easily been the season finale of Smallville. It had characters change, characters vanish and a very sad cliffhanger ending. I wonder if it was the last one written before the writer's strike started? It opened with a quiet day on the Kent farm. Then Brainiac (played by James Marsters) showed up and things got violent. In a rare instance, Clark showed up on time in the beginning to save the day, rather than the end of the program. On another note, that farm gets trashed a LOT. Continue reading Smallville: Veritas Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Talk Talk: Conan O'Brien, Anderson Cooper, Don Rickles
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 10:01:00 AM

Filed under: Late Night, TV Royalty, Programming, Celebrities, Talk Show Here's who's on the late night talk shows tonight. • Charlie Rose: Senator Arlen Specter and Vitaly Churkin • The Daily Show: Senator Arlen Specter (repeat) • The Colbert Report: Samantha Power (repeat) • The Late Show with David Letterman: Eva Longoria and Colbie Calliat (repeat) • Jay Leno:

Conan O'Brien, Anderson Cooper, and Allison Moorer • Jimmy Kimmel Live: Don Rickles,

Jim Sturgess , and Black Tide • Tavis Smiley: Parag Khanna and Van Jones • Late Night with Conan O'Brien: Jake Gyllenhaal and Ghostland Observatory (repeat) • The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Susan Sarandon and Bonnie Somerville (repeat) • Last Call with Carson Daly: Rex Lee and Fat Joe (repeat) Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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Dr. Phil is not a sexy man
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:00:00 AM

ABC orders two more pilots
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 8:07:00 AM

Filed under: Celebrities Every year, The Boston Phoenix publishes a list of the 100 Unsexiest Men of the Year, where they judge 100 males involved in everything from sports to politics to the internet. They always include several TV faces (and other body parts), and this year they've included a cartoon character. No, not Dr. Phil, though he is a bit of a cartoon. The "doctor" is on the list, but the cartoon character I'm talking about is Quagmire, from Family Guy. The Phoenix sends a note to creator Seth MacFarlane that "nothing screams hilarity like jokes

about date rape!" Giggity. Continue reading Dr. Phil is not a sexy man Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Pickups and Renewals With the thought of another year of According to Jim on the air, it's with excitement that I report that new shows may be coming to take its place. ABC has ordered two pilots: Prince of Motor City and an untitled David Hemingson dramedy. The former, which purports to have Shakespearean roots, comes from writer Jessica Goldberg and writer/actor Hamish Linklater, better known around here as Matthew on The

New Adventures of Old Christine. Continue reading ABC orders two more pilots Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Dr. Sara comes back to Prison Break?
By Isabelle Carreau (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:41:00 AM

Big Brother 9: Live feeds report - March 27
By Jackie Schnoop (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 1:31:00 PM

Filed under: OpEd, Big Brother (US) So, we have a new head of household in the Big Brother 9 house, eh? I'd say Natalie's reign is probably going to be predictable, but things could very well go back to fickle once again. With this crowd, nothing's a sure bet. Wait, I stand corrected. It is indeed a sure bet that Natalie and Sheila will keep talking and talking and talking. Most of the time they're talking about things they've talked about before. For show spoilers from the 24/7 live

Filed under: OpEd, Spoilers Anonymous, Prison Break, Celebrities Prison Break fans, you better sit down for this, especially if you were a Sara/Michael 'shipper. According to E!'s gossip columnist Kristin Dos Santos and TV Guide's Michael Ausiello, actress Sarah Wayne Callies will be back as a series regular for season 4 of FOX's Prison Break! No need to check your computer monitor, you read right: Dr. Sara Tancredi

Casting Bites: Williamson, Dunn, McCord & Sandvig
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 1:02:00 PM

could very well be alive! Continue reading Dr. Sara comes back to Prison Break? Permalink| Email this| | Comments

feeds, read on past the jump! Continue reading Big Brother 9: Live feeds report - March 27 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Comedy, Horror, Thrillers, Casting Check out this collection of old and new faces, courtesy of Variety: • He became super famous, or at least, super recognizable after jutting out his lower lip and playing Bubba in Forrest Gump . Now Mykelti Williamson is doomed to some terrible death -- or at least, he's doomed to be surrounded by it.

Jeffrey M. Anderson's 400 Screens 400 Blows - The Smell of Fear
By Jeffrey M. Anderson (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 2:02:00 PM

Filed under: Columns, 400 Screens, 400 Blows Not many people care to admit it, but Hollywood is run by fear. Fear is an emotion generated by things that are not known or understood, and in the movie business, no one ever knows what's going to happen. ( William Goldman was right when he said, "Nobody Knows Anything.") All those accountants,

producers, publicists, entertainment TV shows, ad campaigns, etc. are all an attempt to get a handle on the unknown, an attempt to control the uncontrollable. Anything can happen. The world's biggest movie star can jump up and down on a couch and suddenly become a weirdo outcast. Or the star of a dismal turkey like Showgirls can turn around and find herself cast in a Woody Allen film. This fear, in essence, is why so many movies are so bad. The more investors and business people try to control their investment, the more they clamp down on it, and the more

it gets smothered. See, movies can live and breathe like an organic life form, but they have to have a

chance. If brave producers step back and let the movie come to life in the hands of a genuine artist, they could wind up with something extraordinary like Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country for Old Men(229 screens), a film that somehow pleased critics both highbrow and middlebrow, won a handful of Oscars and has nearly grossed $75 million. This film has already entered the cultural canon as a classic of cinema. More or less the same can be said of Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood(224 screens), which, having lost the Oscar for Best Picture, is now in a position

of being an underrated underdog. But those are exceptions to the rule. No one is immune to the fear: a few years back the Coen Brothers teamed up with sleazy producer Brian Grazer, of all people, and came up with their first dud, Intolerable Cruelty. Continue reading Jeffrey M. Anderson's 400 Screens 400 Blows - The Smell of Fear Permalink| Email this| Comments

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CASTING continued from page 22
He's picked up a role in the next accident fest -Final Destination 4 . Unfortunately, there's no word on who he'll play -- whether he'll have a bit part, or figure prominently. Either way, you'll get to see him in 3D! In the meantime, you can catch him in Vice , a new drama starring Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah. • Then we've got Saturday Night Live alum Nora Dunn . Recently, she's been hanging out on the Pineapple Express , but now she's also getting spiritual -- or at least, into the spiritual business. Dunn has signed on to play a literary agent in the upcoming Jeff Daniels film The Dream of the Romans , which I told you about the other day. Daniels stars as a reclusive writer of spiritual books who gets hounded for advice by a few eager fans. • Finally, there's more talent signing on to the Patrick Swayze comedy Fired Up , which focuses on two guys who sign up for cheerleader's camp to pick up girls -AnnaLynne McCord ( Nip/Tuck ) and Jake Sandvig ( Sky High ). There is no word on McCord's character (although I bet it would be safe to assume that she'll be a cheerleader), while Sandvig will play some dude named Downey. A-W-E-S-O-M-E. (I really hope this is good, for Swayze's sake.) Permalink| Email this| Comments

Ice Cube's Back in Rated R Form with 'Janky Promoters'

'Silent Light' Shines Bright at Mexican Ariel Awards
By Eric D. Snider (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 2:32:00 PM

Interview: Jim Sturgess, Star of '21'
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 3:02:00 PM

By Jessica Barnes (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 10:32:00 AM

Filed under: Foreign Language, Independent, Awards, Cinematical Indie I was glad to see Silent Light( Luz silenciosa) at the Portland International Film Festival last month. It was a rewarding cinematic experience (here's my review), and now, having seen it, I know why there was such an outcry when it (and several other worthy films) failed to make the Oscar foreign-language category shortlist. It's an extraordinary movie, not to mention another milestone in Mexico's current filmmaking golden age. It would seem the Mexicans agree, as Silent Light took home five trophies -including best picture -- at Tuesday's Ariel Awards. (The Ariels are the Mexican equivalent of the Oscars.) Carlos Reygadas, who wrote and directed the film, won awards for both of those jobs, while Maria Pankratz was named best

supporting actress. Alexis Zabe's cinematography was also awarded, and with good reason -- the images in this film are breathtakingly beautiful. Continue reading'Silent Light' Shines Bright at Mexican Ariel Awards Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Drama, New Releases, Fandom, Interviews "She really found me at a point when I needed to be found." -- Jim Sturgess on Julie Taymor: In 21, which hits theaters tomorrow, Jim Sturgess plays Ben Campbell, an M.I.T. student who's recruited into a group of Vegas card counters by a fellow student. In fact, the entire group is made up of students and its leader, Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey), also happens to be a professor at the University. The fact-based film was inspired by the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich, and most of what you will see in 21 really happened -- with certain faces, places, names and events changed to fit a more Hollywood-ized mold. Directed by Robert Luketic, 21 also

stars Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Aaron Yoo and Liza Lapira. Sturgess is a relatively new face to Hollywood. His first major film role only came last year, when director Julie Taymor cast the soft-spoken Brit opposite Evan Rachel Wood in Across the Universe. From there, this musician-turned-actor appeared in the recent The Other Boleyn Girl before taking on his first lead role in a major Hollywood film, 21. Upon meeting him, one can immediately tell this boy has the looks and charm to carry him real far. He's already scheduled to appear in the star -studded Crossing Over and the flick Fifty Dead Men Walking. Cinematical sat down with Sturgess in New York recently to talk about 21, as well as his blossoming career. Continue reading Interview: Jim Sturgess, Star of '21' Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Comedy, Music & Musicals, Deals, The Weinstein Co. So today is the day I officially feel old. Variety reports that Ice Cube has made a deal with Dimension Films for his comedy script Janky Promoters; a title that had me running to Urban Dictionary to figure out what the heck ' Janky' meant. But mid-life crisis aside, back to the real news: Cube will be producing the film along with Dimension and his partner Matt Alvarez, and will also star. The story centers on two hip-hop promoters who are given the chance to put together an all-star show in California. When the two discover that they are in way over their heads, wackiness ensues. Bob Weinstein tells Variety, "This feels a lot like Uptown Saturday Night to me, a caper film where you have these music promoters who are slightly shady but are good enough guys that you root for them, this is going to be R-rated, and it appeals right to the core of Cube's audience." Thankfully, Cube is getting out of the kiddie flick business (at least for now) and Promoters is his first script since the Friday series finished back in 2002. Continue reading Ice Cube's Back in Rated R Form with 'Janky Promoters' Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

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'Munday' Gets Everyone Docs on DVD: 'N.Y.H.C.', From Esther Bloomenbergen... 'Office Tigers,' 'Jimmy to Lando Calrissian! Carter: Man From Plains'
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:02:00 AM

By Peter Martin (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 12:02:00 PM

Filed under: Comedy, Romance, Casting The story of a womanizer who gets beaten for his ways and loses his balls is interesting in its own right. It's strange, different, and has a ring of poetic justice. Now, continuing the uniqueness, this castration comedy is getting a diverse cast. The Hollywood Reporter posts that Judy Greer, Chloe Sevigny, Cybill Shepherd, and Billy Dee Williams have signed on to star with Patrick Wilson in Barry Munday. This is one cast I never would have dreamed could come together. As we told you back in February, the film is based on Frank Turner Hollon's book, Life is a Strange Place. It focuses on a womanizer who gets caught canoodling with a teen, and his father beats him so hard for it that Barry ends up in the hospital with injuries that lead to castration. He begins to see that his life is not quite how he'd like it, and just as he realizes he will never be able to have kids of his own, he's named in a paternity suit. " Barry is elated at the second chance at fatherhood. Now if he can just avoid his crazy ex-girlfriend, her rabid dog, a mob of

angry gay midgets, and his mother until the baby is born..." Judy Greer will play the ex-girlfriend and soon-to-be mom, Sevigny will be her flirty sister with a secret life who hits on Munday, Shepherd is taking on the role of their mother, and Billy Dee will be a "tough boss at Munday's insurance company." Is anyone else as charmed by this cast as I am? Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Documentary, Independent, New on DVD, Home Entertainment, Cinematical Indie As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is a very busy week for notable indie films coming to DVD for the first time. For fans of documentaries, at least three titles deserve mention. Kudos to distributor Halo-8 Entertainment for unleashing Frank Pavich's N.Y.H.C. The title refers to the mid-90s New York hardcore music scene; the film itself was originally released on an underground VHS tape in 1999. Digitally remastered, the doc looks smashing, and, even if you're not a fan of the music, it's a terrific, well-told, engaging story. Musicians and fans open up about mothers, drugs, death, lyrics (one fan says, "You can't understand what they're saying, but if [the singer is] saying what he's saying he's saying, it's pretty cool"), day jobs, piercing, tattoos, violence, and above all, a love of music. The two-disk edition features plenty of supplemental material, including deleted scenes, bonus segments, director's commentary, complete live performances

New Wall*E Photos To Gaze Upon
By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:32:00 AM

of songs by the seven bands highlighted in the film, and more than three hours of updated interviews, in which those involved with the scene talk about what's happened to them. The DVD is available directly from Halo-8. Continue reading Docs on DVD: 'N.Y.H.C.', 'Office Tigers,' 'Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains' Permalink| Email this| Comments

'World War Z' Gets an Early Script Review
By Jessica Barnes (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 12:32:00 PM

Filed under: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, RumorMonger, Scripts, Brad Pitt If nothing else, at least fans of Max Brook's book World War Z can be a little more at ease with the idea of a big screen version. AICN reports that they have gotten their hands on an early version of the script for the 'zombie drama' World War Z ... and what's the verdict? According to them, "I love this script.

Love every dark, somber, upsetting page of it. This is a horror epic, a serious, soberminded adult picture waiting to be made, and it's one of the best pieces of screenwriting craft I've encountered in a while." AICN's review also goes into detail about some of the plot for the film, so if you haven't read the book and like to be surprised you might want to avoid reading the whole review. News of the film first emerged last February, when it was first announced that Brad Pitt's Plan B Productions would

produce a feature film. The structure of the novel is a compendium of stories from survivors of a war between the living and

the undead. The plot jumps time and space, so it must not have been an easy task to weave all these stories into one narrative. The task fell to J. Michael Straczynski(a comic book writer and a creator of TVs Babylon 5), and it would appear that he has done a bang up job of it. Continue reading'World War Z' Gets an Early Script Review Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Animation, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Disney, Family Films, Newsstand, Images There are spies everywhere! There was a Pixar: 20 Years of Animation exhibit in Finland, and it was chock full of pictures from the upcoming Wall·E. They are all collected over at ComingSoon.net, and the only reason I picked this one is that fantastic photo of Wall·E's eyes in the middle, on the far right. Even Finland has better film exhibits than my home town. What the hell? I'd love to see a Pixar exhibit. Anyway, enjoy all the photos of Wall·E's world. There's no spoilers as far as I can tell, just a glimpse of the incredible detail that we expect from our favorite animation studio. I cannot wait to see this movie, and there isn't a soul I know who isn't bewitched by it. Wall· E opens on June 27th, at which point we will enjoy world peace as we all bond together in our love for a robot. It could happen! Permalink| Email this| Comments

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'Blood Done Sign My Name' To Be Directed by 'Fugitive' Writer
By Peter Martin (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 1:32:00 PM

Filed under: Drama, Independent, Casting, Deals, Cinematical Indie Ooh, here's one title that I fervently hope doesn't get changed for the big screen: Timothy B. Tyson's book Blood Done Sign My Name will be adapted into a film by Jeb Stuart, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The book tells the true story of a black Vietnam vet allegedly murdered by a white businessman, and also examines a young teacher's role in the civil unrest that followed. Rising young star Nate Parker( The Great Debaters, Pride) will star. THR says that the independently-financed production will be filmed in North Carolina in May and June. As described by the book's publisher, the story is explosive. It starts in May 1970 with the public murder of Henry Marrow in Oxford, North Carolina. The killing sparked street protests in the small Southern town. "While lawyers battled in

the courthouse," the synopsis reads, "the Klan raged in the shadows and black Vietnam veterans torched the town's tobacco warehouses." Continue reading'Blood Done Sign My Name' To Be Directed by 'Fugitive' Writer Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments